Northern Ireland Assembly members and staff who took part in any meetings held as part of a Palestinian-Israeli visit
Information Standards Freedom of Information Response
Our Ref: FOI 53-21
15 December 2021
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”)
I am writing to confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) has processed your request dated 12 November 2021 in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In your request, you asked:
“The group Forward Thinking recently organised a visit to Northern Ireland of what it called "prominent Palestinian-Israeli political and community leaders". According to Forward Thinking's website the visit took place between 20 and 24 October 2021. A short report on the visit can be found at this link: https://www.forwardthinking.org/?p=6387.
I hereby request a list of all Northern Ireland Assemblymembers and staff who took part in any meetings held as part of this visit.
As is routine courtesy and protocol when delegations containing parliamentarians visit Northern Ireland, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, hosted an informal dinner to welcome a Palestinian-Israeli delegation to Parliament Buildings, following a tour of the Building. Two officials attended the informal dinner from the Northern Ireland Assembly – Gareth McGrath, Director of Parliamentary Services and Robin Ramsey, Adviser to the Speaker/ Head of Corporate Support. The Northern Ireland Assembly arranged no other events or meetings relating to the delegation’s visit to Northern Ireland.
I also request a list of the "prominent Palestinian-Israeli political and community leaders" who visited the Northern Ireland Assembly as part of this trip.
The Palestinian-Israeli delegation attending the informal dinner included MK Aida Touma-Sliman. As an elected representative, MK Aida Touma-Sliman has an obligation to remain in the public domain within the course of her public duties. However, visiting delegates who are not presently in the wider public domain, have an expectation of privacy which includes their personal data. As such, the names of the other Palestinian-Israeli delegates have been withheld under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as the information constitutes personal data.
Finally, I request any internal reports drawn up by the Northern Ireland Assembly's administration based on the aforementioned visit and the topics discussed during it.”
As this was a routine informal dinner, Assembly officials prepared no internal reports.
You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address.
If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.
The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.