22 February 1999
1. This is a ruling in respect of an application made on 2nd December 1998 by Messrs. Desmond J. Doherty & Co. on behalf of certain clients who have given statements to the Tribunal, for the addresses of those clients not to be made public. By letter dated 3rd February 1999, the application was clarified by explaining that it "was solely to ensure that the home addresses did not appear on the Internet".
2. Notice of the application was given to interested parties. Mr. Lawton, representing certain soldiers, gave it "unqualified support". Mr. McCartney, representing the James Wray family, agreed that the addresses need not appear on the Tribunal's Web Site. This agreement was subject to "the strict condition" that the addresses of all witnesses be made available to all interested parties except as set out in their counsels' 12th November 1998 submission concerning the anonymity of witnesses. In that submission, it was conceded that there was no need to disclose soldiers' addresses and telephone numbers as such "particulars have no relevance to the issues to be canvassed at the Inquiry". Apart from the responses of Mr. Lawton and Mr. McCartney, the Tribunal received no other response to the application.
3. This application was made on the basis that these witnesses felt vulnerable because of where they lived. In particular, one client had previously received "a number of threats from certain organisations" that caused concern. We were informed by the letter of 3rd February that the threats received by that one person occurred in 1972.
4. We are not persuaded that the expressed fears about personal security would justify the application were it to relate to matters relevant to the subject matter of the Inquiry. However, we have no reason to suppose (nor has anyone suggested otherwise) that the current addresses of these witnesses (which of course are known to the Tribunal) are or are likely to be of any such relevance. In our view, therefore, the application can be supported on the simple basis that since the addresses are of no relevance, we should respect the very limited request for privacy that has been made.
5. As to the "strict condition" suggested by Mr. McCartney, we would merely observe that we propose to deal with any other similar applications as and when they arise. Accordingly we are not disposed to lay down any such condition, but merely to repeat our publicly stated intention of making public everything of relevance to the subject matter of the Inquiry, unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so.
6. We according grant the application by directing that the addresses of the clients of Messrs. Desmond J. Doherty & Co. should not be published on the Inquiry's Web Site.