• January 18, 2015


The Celtic League has asked the Isle of Man Department of Home Affairs if controversial RIPA legislation has been extended to and utilised by TV licensing on their visits to the Isle of Man. The move follows concern in other jurisdictions about the use of the legislation for purposes for which it was not intended.

The League also ask if the same body has used the legislation here without it being extended pointing out that in the past TV licensing contractors have acted lawfully on the Island when their staff operated without work permits for a time – until the Celtic League drew the attention of Manx authorities to the omission.

The text of the letter to the DHA is set out below:

“The Minister for Home Affairs
Mr Juan Watterson MHK
88 Woodbourne Road
Isle of Man


Dear Minister,

I refer to recent concerns raised by a Member of the UK parliament for an Ulster constituency about the use made by the BBC and its TV licensing contractor of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 to counter TV license evasion. He is asking (see attached link) for the BBC to ‘justify its use’ of the controversial powers.


The fact that the BBC use this facility has been known about for over two years indeed Sian Healey, Head of Communications and Policy for TV Licensing wrote about the BBC’s use of RIPA in August 2012 saying:

“we were entirely open about the fact that the BBC does use these powers through its TV Licensing team to detect evasion, a criminal offence”

RIPA was introduced I understand to fight ‘terrorism and organised crime’ and I also understand that it contains within it a facility for it to be ‘extended’ to the Isle of Man.

Has RIPA been formally extended to the Isle of Man?

Have the BBC’s TV licensing contractors who visit the Isle of Man periodically and who it is freely admitted use the provisions of RIPA elsewhere ever used it here?

Given that in the past the BBC’s TV licensing contractors have in the past behaved unlawfully by operating on the Isle of Man without obtaining work permits:
Can you advise that if they have utilised RIPA on the Isle of Man without it being lawfully extended to include this jurisdiction the Isle of Man Constabulary will investigate to establish if any offence has been committed under Manx law?

Have the DHA or the Isle of Man government ever conveyed to the United Kingdom their concern that legislation which may be (or has been) extended to the Isle of Man and is designed to counter ‘terrorism and organised crime’ is used for purposes other than this?

Finally, do the DHA and the Isle of Man government consider that legislation introduced to fight ‘terrorism and organised crime’ should be used to deter TV license evasion?

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


Chief Minister Hon. Allan Bell MHK
Chief Constable of the Isle of Man, Mr Gary Roberts”


It was September 2002 when we issued a press statement entitled “DETECTOR CREWS CAUGHT WITHOUT LICENCE”. Unfortunately that story and some subsequent follow-ups are not yet on the archive at celticleague.net but if anyone wants a copy email me.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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