Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Note by the Clerk of the Committee


  When witnesses representing the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland gave oral evidence on 15 November 2000, it was claimed, at Q123, that Grand Lodge had evidence that "in 1998-99" information on a Form 11/1 had been disclosed by the Parades Commission to "IRA activists in Portadown" and that "as a result, members of the Institution in Portadown were put under threat and had to move from the house because they were identified". In written evidence submitted on 27 February 2001, the Parades Commission commented that it had "no knowledge of the incident referred to". In the light of this comment, I wrote on 7 March, on behalf of the Committee, to the Executive Officer of Grand Lodge, seeking further information about the assertions made in that answer, with a view to clarifying the position before the Committee reported to the House. He replied on 8 March, informing me that the witness who made the allegation was currently abroad, but that he would relay the request to him on his return the following week.

  No further information was received before the Committee agreed its Report on 28 March. It therefore recorded, at paragraph 85, that the information was still awaited. I wrote again to Grand Lodge on 24 April, inquiring when I could expect to receive the further details requested in my letter of 7 March. In his response of 27 April, the Executive Officer stated that the witness had contacted Portadown District L O L on his return. The District had confirmed that the incident took place, but documentary confirmation, including the specific date, was still awaited. That remains the position.

  From a further exchange of correspondence with the Executive Officer, it appears that, two years ago, a press article written by a representative of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition included personal information relating to persons involved in a parade in Portadown. From the nature of the information, and the identity of the author, the inference was apparently drawn by some that he had obtained this information from an official of the Parades Commission who in turn had access to the Form 11/1 relating to this parade. I have not received any information about which paper carried the article in question, nor have I been sent a copy, but it appears that this article may have been the underlying basis for the assertion made by the Grand Lodge witness.

  The layout and content of Form 11/1 is prescribed by the Public Order (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 2000. The personal information it requires is the name, home address and telephone numbers of the person organising the parade, the names of the parade marshals and stewards, and, in respect of each accompanying band, besides its name and town of origin, the name and address of the person in charge of the band. The Parades Commission has confirmed that, to the extent that an Authorised Officer needs access to any of these personal details to discharge his or her duties, and only to that extent, these are passed to them, but they do not receive a copy of the completed Form 11/1.

9 May 2001

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