Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Sixth Report


The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has agreed to the following Report:—


1. We recently reported on the Parades Commission.[2] In that Report, we referred[3] to evidence which had been given to us which alleged that there had been two occasions when sensitive personal information given by parade organisers to the Parades Commission through a completed Notice of Intention to Organise a Public Procession (Form 11/1)[4] had been passed on by the Commission to parties not entitled to receive it. One, which was accepted by the Commission as an error on its part, related to a band parade in Maghera. The other related to a claim by a witness representing the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, when that organisation gave oral evidence on 15 November 2000,[5] that it had evidence that "in 1998/99" information on a Form 11/1 had been given to "IRA activists in Portadown". In written evidence submitted on 27 February 2001, the Parades Commission commented that it had "no knowledge of the incident referred to".[6] In the light of this comment, we sought further information from Grand Lodge on 7 March. Our Report, agreed on 28 March, recorded that this was still awaited.[7]

2. We have continued to seek further information from Grand Lodge. We have not, to date, received from them any specific details of when the alleged disclosure took place, or of to whom or by whom it might have been made. From exchanges of correspondence with Grand Lodge subsequent to us agreeing our Report, it appears that certain personal information relating to persons involved with a parade in Portadown, which would have been given on the completed Form 11/1, appeared in a newspaper article some two years ago. From the identity of the author of the article, it was apparently inferred by some that the information must have come, through the Parades Commission, from the Form 11/1. This article seems likely to have been the basis for the allegation by the Grand Lodge witness.

3. However, it does not appear to us that there is any personal information which is required to be given on Form 11/1 for which that form is likely to be the sole potential source. The Parades Commission, which we have consulted on this point, agrees with this view. Our comments about the possible consequences of disclosure, to parties not entitled to receive it, of personal information required to be given on a completed Form 11/1, and the underlying evidence, have resulted in several representations being made to us. We have therefore appended a note to this Report, and to the original Minutes of Evidence,[8] which has been prepared by the Clerk and which briefly summarises the further inquiries we have made into this matter, and their outcome. The fact that representations were made to us serves to underline the importance of all who handle completed Forms 11/1 continuing to ensure that the confidential nature of all personal information set out therein is fully respected.

2  Second Report, Session 2000-01 (HC 120 - I). Back

3  Paragraph 84. Back

4  The layout of this form, and the information required to be provided, is prescribed by the Public Order (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000/155). Back

5  Q 123 (HC 120 - II). Back

6  See HC 120 - II, Appendix 22, p. 302. Back

7  Paragraph 85. Back

8  HC 120 - II, Appendix 23, p. 308. Back

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