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Professor Kevin Boyle Archive
Professor Kevin Boyle Archive at NUI Galway
The archive of the legal and human rights academic, barrister and activist, Professor Kevin Boyle, is now catalogued and available at the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. Professor Kevin Boyle, who came originally from Newry, began his career at Queen’s University Belfast where he was deeply engaged in the civil rights movement. In the late 1970s he joined NUI Galway where he co-founded the Irish Centre for Human Rights with Denny Driscoll in 1980. In the early 1980’s he was involved with Amnesty International, Ireland, which saw him compile research and observations on trips to countries like Gambia and South Africa - where Boyle compiled key reports on the effect on the 'pass law' system and of the wider apartheid regime.
The last two decades of Professor Kevin Boyle’s life were spent at the University of Essex, where, for various periods, he directed its Human Rights Centre. In addition to his enormous academic contribution, Professor Boyle was active with important international NGOs such as Article 19, of which he was the founding director. He served as a special advisor to Mary Robinson when she was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2001. Professor Boyle appeared frequently before the European Court of Human Rights, winning important cases that dealt with a broad range of issues, including freedom of expression, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and torture. Comprising of over one hundred boxes of manuscripts and printed books, the Boyle archive is a documented record of the varied and rich contribution made by the activist and scholar to international human rights. The archive, kindly donated by the Boyle family since Kevin’s untimely passing in 2010, has now been catalogued by the University’s James Hardiman Library, and represents a major resource for the study and teaching of human rights.
John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway, explains the significance of the Boyle archive: “The sheer breadth of subject matter, as well as the vast amounts of personal correspondence, allow for new insights and understandings of Kevin Boyle’s contributions to the discipline of human rights and the practice of law. It is an honour for the Library to be entrusted with this archive, one which illustrates the far reaching effect Kevin Boyle’s work had on individual people’s lives. Now and into the future, the archive will serve as a valuable resource to researchers in the field.”
Northern Ireland Civil Rights March 1969