Parades Commission being attacked from 2 sides?

Interesting line of argument in today’s Irish News from Alban Maginness, who claims both Sinn Fein and the DUP are hammering the Parades Commission out of their own narrow political interests (subs needed).

“The Parades Commission is suffering a major frontal attack from the DUP while Sinn Fein snipes from the sidelines. If they really want to resolve parading conflicts rather than try to win them all, they should support the Parades Commission and accept its determinations for the greater good.” Mr Maginness accused unionists of attempting to destroy the commission to hand control of parades back to the police while he accused republicans of demonising the PSNI in a bid to portray themselves as ‘peacemakers’ in their own community.

  • Norhern FF

    Maginess’ point is right on the money. The SDLP need to speak up more loudly on parades – they seem to me to be the only Party not cynically exploiting the issue (and ordinary people living in these areas) for political advantage.

  • fair_deal

    I have said this on a number of occassions when I have talked to republicans so I might as well say it on here. The path of the agreement et al would have been much smoother if parades had been left alone (this statement is based on an assumption that the republicans are genuine about creating working relationships with Unionism and not about maneouvreing it into corners – not a necessarily safe assumption but there you go).

    The DUP knows this is a running sore it must address else the implementation of any new arrangments and their position could be seriously undermined.

    “they should support the Parades Commission and accept its determinations for the greater good”

    If the PC were a competent body this argument would have some merit. However:
    1. Unrepresentative – It is an unrepresentative body (I know that hardly makes it unique in public bodies in NI but it is still worth raising.)
    2. Consistency and Confidence – It demonstrates no consistency in its decision-making. ‘Making it up as you go along’ is not an approach that will promote confidence in any body. Its treatment of nationalist marches in Kilkeel with Orange Order marches in other rural nationalist towns and villages. Its climbdown in Magherafet after nationalist protestors broke a determination etc etc.
    3. Competence – It cannot even interpret its own legislation correctly. Last year an Upper North resident successfully challenged a 12th July determination when the Commission accepted it had acted ultra vires. This week we had the climb down on forms. Confidential PC documents being found among IRA intelligence etc

  • PatMcLarnon

    Unionist parades are a throw back to the days of sectarian hegemoney and as such should be consigned to the dustbin of history. As Brian Feeney rightly points out in todays Irish News there are over three thousand of these events per year and only a handful of these cause controversy, unsurprisingly these are the pareades where unionists want to coat trail through nationalist areas.
    If unionists are serious about developing a real relationship with their Catholic neighbours surely they would content themselves with the 99% of parades that traipse through the areas where they are wanted.

    This is a very simple black and white issue either it is right for sectarian parades to coat trail through areas where they are not wanted or this society wants such aggressively sectarian shows to continue, enforced by hundreds of armed unionists in PSNI uniforms and backed up by the same numbers of British Army.

    Poor Alban seems to have lost the plot on this issue. It was the PSNI in their ready willingness to use their batons on nationalists that causes these people to be demonised. He needs to have a look at himself as regards his position as a community representative. TV footage clearly showed that when the trouble started at Ardoyne people like Gerry Kelly (once again) put themselves in danger by trying to quell the trouble. Alban and Pat Convery simple stood there and cowered while events unfolded. Perhaps his peacekeeper jibe has more to do with his own political impotence and personal cowardice.

  • PaddyCanuck

    I agree with Pat, Alban has lost the plot.

    He seems to want Sinn Fein, and those who were battered and barricaded in their own homes by the PSNI, to support the PSNI in those same actions. By doing so he is also implying that nationalist grievances over a very few sectarian marches are contrived.

    He would rather support a unrepresentaive quango that equivocates and dithers, and the PSNI, who often refuse to enforce the quangos recommendations, because they prefer to face down taigs, rather than their billy boy buddies.

    It is about time that human and community rights were protected instead of being danced around and horse traded.

    Community groups and Sinn Fein, have genuinely sought dialogue and compromise, they have for the most part been ignored by Orangeism and the parades commission. Sectarian marching and coat trailing through nationalist areas cannot be defined as a right, by any measure.

    The SDLP should also wise up and start arguing for real equality, rather than sticking to their love of the Quango State.

  • aquifer

    These chancers are trying to hide the success of the parades commission.

    The previous arrangements were that the police applied a ‘least public disorder’ approach to routing on the ground on the day, rewarding those who threatened most violence, and essentially inviting mayhem.

    I hear the scratching of irish separatists and protestant supremacists at the bottom of the barrel, while the PSNI on the ground act as punchbags for naked sectarian aggression. Female officers dragged out of a landrover and hit over the head with a bottle, forbidden to drive the vehicle at a crowd to clear it.

    And she’s probably a constituent of one of the delinquent members.

  • fair_deal

    Pat and PC agree sacre blue

    “there are over three thousand of these events per year and only a handful of these cause controversy, unsurprisingly these are the pareades where unionists want to coat trail through nationalist areas.”

    1. Growth – The number of parades attracting sectarian protests has consistently grown so the handful argument does not apply.
    2. Insatiable – If the OO said all the present controversial parades were stopped it wouldn’t end the issue because other parades will attract protests.
    2. Cultural Practice 1 – The fact that 3,000 parades are held is maybe an indicator that parading is what Ulster Prods do hence the motivation is not coat-trailing its just what we do.
    3. Cultural Practice 2 – On a number of these routes parades were held before anyone lived there even and/or it was previously a Protestant or mixed community. Orange parades take place in other parts of the world. Does the same activity no matter who lives there or what the country is not indicate its just what we do?

    “a real relationship with their Catholic neighbours surely they would content themselves with the 99% of parades that traipse through the areas where they are wanted.”

    1. Acceptance – In a diverse society ‘wanted’ is not the standard for where a public procession can take place. The RM talk the talk about rights it would help with their credibility if they actually walked the walked when human right standards don’t give them the results they want.
    2. Majoritarianism – I always love the way nationalists hate majority rule until they are in a majority and then what they say must go.
    3. Relationships – Hows about we share Ulster by going “You have your culture and I have mine. You express yours I’ll express mine. I don’t ask you to stop being you and you don’t ask me to stop being me”. Mutual respect can maybe a good starting point for better relationships.
    4. Peaceful – Even if nationalists can’t manage tolerance and feel an urge to a sectarian protest, feel free enjoy the right to assemble, freedom of expression and freedon of association and peacefully protest. Maybe they could try and fight their sectarian urges and not turn into a hate-filled mob a la Ardoyne last Friday and last July.

    “This is a very simple black and white issue “

    Congratlations Pat and I agree on something. The democratic and human right standard was established in South Africa during its period of transition. Marches can proceed as long as the co-operate with the authorities and show they can do so peacefully and people can protest so long as they do so peacefully. Perfectly black and white.

    Paddy

    “the PSNI, who often refuse to enforce the quangos recommendations, because they prefer to face down taigs, rather than their billy boy buddies.”

    Please list when the PSNI has refused to do this. The last failures to enforce a determination was against nationalist protests in Ardoyne and Magherafelt.

    “Community groups and Sinn Fein, have genuinely sought dialogue and compromise,”

    1. The Ardoyne and Whiterock parades have had cross-community dialogue. The upcoming parade in Londonderry has had cross-community dialogue. The dialogue argument is wearing ever thinner.
    2. At last friday’s parade the PSNI and Parades Forum believed they had an agreement with republicans. They each implemented their parts. Republicans didn’t – undermining the claimed value of dialogue. The response from republican representatives as women and children were attacked last friday, a shrug of shoulders and nothing to do with us.
    3. Human rights are not for compromise – do you not agree?

  • PatMcLarnon

    faie-deal,

    you just don’t get do you. Sectarian parades are not acceptable to those Catholic communities that are having them forced through their areas. The dialogue groups are merely their in an attempt to try and get the bigots concerned to see the error of their ways and to highlight the fact that sectarian attacks by unionists are now an established (cultural) part of the marching season.

    On the question of republican parades, not one parade from this source marches through residential areas where they are not wanted, not one. Unionism could learn a lot from this.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “not one parade from this source marches through residential areas where they are not wanted”

    There was a replublican Parade in Fermanagh a few weeks back that was not wanted by many of the villagers.

  • fair_deal

    Pat

    “The dialogue groups are merely their in an attempt to try and get the bigots concerned to see the error of their ways”

    Thank you Pat for a clear if unimaginably arrogant answer. It is now clear that the positive rhetoric of Sinn fein and republican residents groups of how dialogue could achieve agreement was meaningless and a tactical move to try and look good. A shift from ‘bomb and shoot them into submission’ to ‘talk into submission’ – neither will work.

    I also see you ignore the series of points above I take it you have no answer or are prepared to concede them.

    Your concern about sectarian attacks would be believeable if you were not blind to the sectarianism of republicans e.g. the celtic fan attack, the atack last friday and the appeals for the sectarian murderer Sean Kelly to be released.

  • fair_deal

    Pat

    The comparable organisation for the OO is the AOH. The AOH holds a number of parades through Protestant areas e.g. Desertmartin and these are tolerated.

    The republican movement is a poltical movement. No Unionist or Loyalist political party or movement holds marches in nationalist areas.

  • PatMcLarnon

    fair-deal,

    As stated previously this is a black and white issue, either sectarian coat trailing exercises are right or they are wrong.
    You jibe about talking rather than shooting into submission is a rather broas brush stroke and catch all. Equally one could put the argument that unionists rather than by killing Catholics at the Ardoyne shops will show their dominance by sectarian marches. Nationalists have come through too much to accept that type of scenario.

    The points that you do make concern the rights of marchers. I simply take the view that coat trailing in a divided society is wrong and therefore your points are irrelevant to me.

    You do me a great disservice by not recognising the fact that I have quite clearly stated the cause of the celtic fans attacks. In fact I did so on this site almot immediately.
    Also, the Sean Kelly issue has been discussed at length on another thread.

    Please don’t ask me to comment on the AOH. It is a Catholic sectarian organisation, a much smaller organisation than the O.O. that has all of about ten parades a year. Suffice to say I am unaware of them commemorating IRA volunteers or carrying banners to same. Also, I am unaware of them getting present day IRA members to act as stewards for their parades. Therefore any comparison is bogus.

  • barnshee

    The OO are mad –why would anyone want to go near the Springfield Rd unless one had to?. They should ask politely (once) may we walk fro eg a -b . If the natives say- sorry no -THEN DON`T GO.

    The route through Mackies will still produce a catholic mob (with luck ? the parade will still get attacked with more luck? the PSNI now severely female and 5′ 2” will get another hiding– all in front of the TV cameras– go for it lads)

  • stacey

    I have never read such nonsense! I dont even know where to start, anyway I think Fair Deal has covered most of it anyway.
    One of the main issues here however seems to be the fact that some parades are passing through nationalist areas and this leads to trouble (mainly from nationalists throwing bottles at PSNI and Orange men etc etc). It must be remembered however that when these historic routes were drawn up the areas now in question were not nationalist areas! Nationalists have moved into places like the Garvahy Road over time, each knowing that an Orange parade would pass through there.
    Why should these parades now have to be rerouted or prevented because relatively new residents have decided to riot and cause trouble? The rioters and trouble makers should be arrested and the parades should be allowed to continue. Giving in to this violence is no answer at all – the residents knew the score before they moved in.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pat wrote : “This is a very simple black and white issue either it is right for sectarian parades to coat trail through areas where they are not wanted or this society wants such aggressively sectarian shows to continue,”

    I find the Orange Order obscene. But wouldn’t you accept that there is a free speech issue ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Sectarian parades are not acceptable to those Catholic communities that are having them forced through their areas. “

    Orange parades are 100% sectarian.

    The attitude that an entire neighbourhood may be the exclusive possession of a group defined by religious parameters is also 100% sectarian. Sinn Fein’s policy is for a shared future. The idea that people can group themselves by religion and lay down the law about who may or may not enter a certain district does not sound shared to me. In fact it sounds rather like apartheid.

  • dee st

    “The idea that people can group themselves by religion and lay down the law about who may or may not enter a certain district does not sound shared to me. In fact it sounds rather like apartheid.”

    I agree in part with what you are saying cs

    However, when we are talking about an organisation such as the orange order, who have been shown to be intensely anti catholic and anti Nationalist, i’m not sure that it is possible to share or agree.

    I know the comparison has been used before, but would the residents of Brixton be accused of using Apartheid tactics in protesting about a national front march proceeding through their area.

  • Comrade Stalin

    dee st, I consider the Orange Order an affront to decent people and to democracy. I do not know any reasonable people who support the organization. I regard them as bigots who with their attitude share a responsibility for the problems that exist in this society. I think they are quite similar to the national front, especially given their close association with loyalist paramilitarism which itself has close ties with Combat 18.

    However my problem is that although I don’t like bigots, bigots have the same rights as everyone else, which includes the right to express their bigoted view and hold their bigoted gatherings. I don’t like it but that is their right and nobody has any business stopping them. If they are breaking the law, disturbing the peace or inciting riots then arrest them and prosecute them – but if they are not breaking the law and simply expressing a certain belief, even if that belief is nothing more than “f*** the pope” – nobody has any business dictating to them where they may or may not express their views.

    Anyone who says “you may not speak or move freely near my doorstep” is themselves a bigot. Anyone who says “this area is Catholic, youse aren’t allowed in here” is implementing apartheid.

  • dee st

    So therefore it is acceptable for the national front to walk through Brixton with their racist regalia.

    I don’t see the logic of allowing that,in an equal society

    Would German extreemists be allowed to march through jewish communities in Berlin ?

    Would members of the Jewish community be regarded as bigots for opposing any such march or demonstration ?

    Anyway im just in from the bar, i’ll catch up with you tomorrow. slan