THE US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Boston College from handing over interviews with a former IRA member to the American government.
The high court today stayed a lower court order that the college give the Justice Department portions of recorded interviews with convicted IRA bomber Dolours Price.
Federal officials want to forward the recordings to police in Northern Ireland investigating the IRA’s 1972 killing of Belfast woman Jean McConville.
The stay granted by Justice Stephen Breyer ends on November 16 if there’s no appeal to the Supreme Court.
Price and other former IRA members were interviewed between 2001 and 2006 as part of The Belfast Project — a resource for journalists, scholars and historians studying the long conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles.
Last night, Ed Moloney, one of the journalists who worked on the Belfast Project said: “We have a victory at the Supreme Court.”
He added: “Our lawyers, Eamonn Dornan, JJ Cotter and Jonathan Albano have won a fantastic victory at the US Supreme Court with the approval of Justice Stephen Breyer that our request for a stay of the handover of interviews from the Belfast Project archive at Boston College be granted and extended until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case. ”
The text of the US Supreme court ruling states: “IT IS ORDERED that the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, case Nos. 11-2511 and 12-1159, is hereby stayed until November 16, 2012.
“If the applicants file a petition for a writ of certiorari on or before that date, then the mandate of the First Circuit is further stayed until the petition is resolved by this Court. Should the petition be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically.
“In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court. If the applicants do not file a petition for certiorari on or before November 16, then the stay shall expire at 5 p.m. that day.”