Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum submitted by the Northern Ireland Office

  This memorandum provides information supplementary to that given in oral evidence on 17 January 2001.

Question 289

  The Committee expressed an interest in seeing the submission to the Secretary of State, which conveyed the findings of the NIO's review of the Parades Commission. Rather than provide the submission or a synopsis of it, Ministers have agreed to expand upon the reasoning behind the recommendations that were accepted. This is attached as an annex to this memorandum. We hope this is acceptable to the Committee.

Question 312

  We can confirm that, during the round of talks chaired by Adam Ingram, both the Orange Order and the residents had the opportunity to comment on records of meetings before these were submitted to the Parades Commission.

Question 325

  Legal advice has confirmed that the terms in which the legislation is couched at present would prevent the Commission from considering more than one parade in each determination.

Question 327

  The RUC's Operations Planning Branch has confirmed that this information is included on Form 11/1 for police purposes. Somehow, the Ulster Bands Association appears to have been misinformed.

Question 330

  The Commission did, on one occasion, make funding available to train some members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry but does not routinely have money set aside in its budget for that purpose. However, it is keen to promote such training and would welcome wider discussion on how best to pursue the issue, including the funding aspect.

Question 332

  The budget for the Parades Commission for the current financial year is £1.138 million.

  There is no budget specifically set aside for the purpose of promoting better understanding of decisions. However, since the NIO review was carried out, additional care has been taken in presenting information and reasoning, both within determinations and in press releases. Additionally, meetings have taken place with the people or bodies who have expressed an interest in discussing the Commission's decisions in various areas. The cost of each of these measures would be negligible in financial terms, and could be better expressed as a more effective way of using the Commission's time and resources.

Question 349

  By the closing date for the competition for the Chairmanship (5 November), 13 applications had been received. Upon re-advertisement at the increased salary (closing date 15 December), 45 applications were received.

Question 350

  The Chairman's post was originally advertised with a salary of £31,500. It was re-advertised with a salary range of £30,000-£40,000, with more potentially available for an exceptional candidate.

Question 354

  In response to Mr Robinson, we stated in evidence that the late applications were received within two days of the closure date. This was incorrect. The last application was received 12 days after the closure date.

  In addition to the above points, arising from question 299, I should like to place on record that we have since raised again with the Parades Commission the need to heighten awareness of mediation and the importance we attach to the implementation of that recommendation.

28 February 2001

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