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BBC's Julian O'Neill reports
Individuals informed about the release of personal details
 real 56k

Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Bandsmen may take court action
Parades Commission
Commission apologised for the mistake
A loyalist politician has said 39 loyalist bandsmen whose details were mistakenly given to a Sinn Fein assemblyman may take legal action.

The Northern Ireland Parades Commission, which rules on the routes of contentious parades in Northern Ireland, apologised on Wednesday after it faxed the information to John Kelly.

Mr Kelly said he had requested the information to ensure that no bands which had contravened Parades Commission rulings in the past were taking part in a parade in Maghera, but that he tore the fax up after the commission revealed its mistake.

UDP leader Gary Michael
Gary Michael: "We have advised the bandsmen to take action"
However, Mr McMichael said the men had been informed by solicitors that they had a strong case.

"We are suggesting to the individuals whose names were give to Sinn Fein that they take legal action," he said.

"The Data Protection Act covers personal information which is provided to organisations such as the Parades Commission and there is a clear breach of that."

The names and addresses of the secretaries of 39 loyalist bands taking part in a parade at Maghera, County Londonderry, on 28 July, were faxed by the commission to Mr Kelly.

The bandsmen were later told by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that their details were in the hands of republicans.

Sinn Fein's John Kelly
John Kelly said he tore up the fax
The Parades Commission has said it has put procedures in place to make sure it does not happen again.

In a statement on Wednesday, it said a "completely genuine mistake" was made.

But it rejected a call by Mr McMichael for Parades Commission chairman Tony Holland to resign.

The loyalist Progressive Unionist Party said it was very concerned about the "security risk" and had requested an urgent meeting with the commission to find out if it had "violated the confidentiality of the 36th UVF Regiment bands Association".

RUC accused of "spin"

But Mr Kelly accused the police of putting what he called "an unacceptable spin" on the incident.

"It seems to me the RUC are attempting to spin this into a very sinister story, whatever the reasons.

"The fact is a loyalist parade was to take place in Maghera last Friday," he said.

"The week before a number of residents and myself had secured a determination prohibiting the parade from trespassing a nationalist area of Maghera.

"In the event, the Parades Commission unexpectedly, a week later, overturned that decision.

"The reason for requesting the names of the bands was to ensure that no band which had contravened the commission in other areas like Harryville, Bellaghy or Garvaghy Road would be taking part," Mr Kelly said.

The RUC said it did not comment on security matters.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
NI Commission 'regrets mistake'
05 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
New mediator in marching dispute
21 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
'No easy solution' to parades disputes
15 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
New head for parades body
03 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Commission faces first parade decision
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