Commission must put residents first

Sticking with the parades issue for a while, Jim Gibney has an interesting piece in yesterday’s Irish News. It’s uncompromising in calling for a ban on marches in Catholic areas, pending “meaningful dialogue”, rather than “low level contact”.

For Poole the “shared future” is allowing unwanted Orange parades to march through Catholic and nationalist areas. In what can only be described as a bout of wishful thinking to bolster his decision Poole described low-level contact between both sides as “courageous, real and meaningful” dialogue. Meaningful dialogue is what is needed. Low-level contact should not be exaggerated to fit into the commission’s agenda.

He goes on suggest that the Orange should be judged on their intentions:

And their intentions are to cause offence to people in places like the Springfield Road. On that basis Orange parades which apply to go through areas where they are not wanted should be banned. The Orange Order is a secret, oath-bound, sectarian, anti-Catholic organisation. It forfeits any rights it has when it seeks to march through Catholic areas where it is not welcome.

He makes an interesting point about the balancing of rights, something which creates difficulties for any body charged with adjudicating on such apparently intractable disputes:

No-one should try to balance out the rights residents have to live free from sectarian intimidation and those of Orangemen. There is no equivalence. Residents should be protected by the state against the Orange Order which is the aggressor

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Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty