Don’t ask us about illegal parading – Parades Commission

It has been revealed that the Parades Commission does not monitor illegal parades. The PSNI were unable to provide any figures for legal action on such parades either.

  • southbelfastnewsman

    this is a lot of hot uinionist air over absolutely nothing. the Parades Commission doesn’t hold information on illegal parades? of course not. why should it? Illegal parades are, er, illegal and therefore i would assume the Commission would have no prior notice of such parades and if they take place without someone bringing it to the attention of the Commission, why shoult it hold such info?

    the newsletter is going further and further downhill very quickly.

  • Bem use d

    Correct southbelfastnewsman – an utter non-story. Well done Dodds, McNarry, etc. Really Fair Deal – parroting this sort of transparently facile bollocks does very little for your credibility…

  • Captain Renault

    I am shocked, shocked, to find out there are illegal parades going on here.

  • unfair exchange

    Is fair deals post a piece in comedic irony.

  • SBN – I read this at the time and wondered if I was missing something. It shows a lack of understanding at the News Letter that perhaps exlpains a lot of their coverage of the parades issue.

  • Benn

    Of course any parade takes place in a context (spatial, cultural, historical, etc), and that context includes illegal parades. Not to defend the OO which obviously has its own fish to fry, but the “Parades Commission” should have a comprehensive data set to work from, makes sense, no? Ineptitude isn’t always a sectarian issue. Ben

  • Bemu s e d

    Quite correct Ben – what Dodds, Fair Deal and others don’t seem to have grasped though is that if Parliament had wanted the Parades Commission that have had ‘such a comprehensive data set to work from’ then Parliament would drafted the relevant legislation accordingly. It didn’t. To try to make out that somehow this is the Parades Commission’s fault is just asinine MOPE-ish wank.
    Urquahrt is correct – The News Letter is fast becoming a sort of myopic Unionist version of Daily Ireland.

  • Bem u s ed

    Apologies for the atrocious spelling and syntax above.

  • Miss Fitz

    I think there is a lot of mischief in this article. It appears to blame the PC for not collating information on parades that they are not being informed about. There is also a disingenuity in not actually telling people what is actually meant by an ‘illegal’ parade.

    As to the PC not monitoring ‘illegal’ parades, I think a little more research perhaps needs to be done in this area.

  • Colin

    well I for one am shocked and outraged!

    next FD will be telling us that the PSNI doesn’t have figures on whether or not local drug dealers paid tax on shipments of cocaine imported into the 6 counties which slipped under their radar!

  • Miss Fitz

    FD only linked to the article, the mischief or misinformation is coming from the Belfast Telegraph.

  • Pete Baker

    That would be the News Letter, Miss Fitz.. who are reporting the misinformation of the DUP, the UUP and the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

    Personally, I see no reason why the PSNI do not have a record of the numbers of illegal marches.. which they should be able to provide to the Parades Commission. But the Parades Commission, itself, is not in place to engage with illegal parades – only those legal parades deemed contentious.

  • Miss Fitz

    Surely the whole point of an illegal march is that it is not notified to anyone? If it isnt notified, then how are the Police meant to be aware of them? Psychic powers?

    The PC does not only deal with contentious parades Pete, it considers all of the 3000 plus parades that are notified each year.

    I think what is missing here is a clear definition of what is termed an illegal parade, and why it is illegal. Who organises or is involved with the majority of illegal parades?

    In whose interest is it to try and blame the PC for failing to collate information on parades that they are not notified about?

    I’m telling you, this is only mischief

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    I agree it’s mischief. But the police acknowledge they receive reports of illegal parades – simple definition, those who do not notify in advance [to the Parades Commission, I believe?].

    They should have records of those reports and any follow-up investigations.

    But the Parades Commission is, in reality, only concerned with those deemed contentious.

  • Miss Fitz

    I disagree with a lot of what you are saying here, but I also dont want to defend the PC as they would really want to start doing that for themselves one of these days.

    Illegal parades are more complicated than non notification, and that is why I am saying that there is an agenda to this story.

    The PC considers contentious parades, to be sure, but believe it or not, there are other reasons to be interested in non contentious parades. The PC has a further remit of contributing to community relations, according to their website, so perhaps they like to talk to oprganisers of non contentious parades to learn good practice?

    We must separate the two legislative functions of the police and the parades commission and not confuse the two. The police are the body who deal with those who break the law and as such should doucment reports of illegal parades where they have been notified of them.

    Once a parade has occurred and has not been notified, the PC does not have any input or involvement with it.

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    I can’t see what you disagree with.. perhaps I haven’t explained my position enough?

    Non-notification is the simplest, most straight-forward, definition of an illegal parade I can think of – if there’s another please state it.

    Any illegal actions during a parade should be covered by different definitions and analysis of the figures – but let’s get those figures.. the point being, there’s no reason for the figures not to be collated and analysed.

    What the PC can or cannot learn from other non-contentious parades is, of course, about improving their operation.. in relation to the contentious parades.

  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, it appears that the PC is not collating information about illegal parades it is informed about yet it is/may be using such information as ‘part of our deliberations on future parades’. A bit slip-shod?

  • Pete Baker


    The problem lies with the PSNI not collating that information – they’re the ones tasked with dealing with illegal activity.

  • Nevin

    IMO that’s a separate issue, Pete.

    If the PC collated the information it received then it might detect patterns of behaviour by certain organisations that would help inform its future strategies. For example, if an organisation flaunts the rules then that should be a consideration for a future judgement whether or not anyone else raises an objection. The PC approach appears to be an ad hoc one.

  • Pete Baker

    No, Nevin, it’s a central issue.

    The information needed is being received primarily by the PSNI – They’re the ones who need to collate it and pass it on where necessary.

  • Nevin

    Pete, the information is coming in from a wide range of sources, including the PSNI.

    Surely the appropriate approach by the PC would be to collate this information ie sort some pieces of the jig-saw and seek more in order to construct an accurate picture of events.

    I’d expect the PC to share and discuss its assessments with the PSNI and other interested parties.

    Perhaps it’s also worth pointing out that the PSNI response to illegality is subject to political control.

    Then there’s the matter of the PC’s decision to give permission for essentially paramilitary parades and the PSNI’s apparent acquiescence, politically directed or otherwise.

    PS Naturally the PSNI should collate its own information, including that supplied by the PC.

  • southbelfastnewsman

    Miss Fitz, you said, “The PC has a further remit of contributing to community relations, according to their website, so perhaps they like to talk to oprganisers of non contentious parades to learn good practice?”

    surely it is up to those who organise contentous parades to liaise with those who organise non contentious ones, to learn good practice. It is not the PC who intially decide they will organise marches – they only rule them after they have been notified.

  • Miss Fitz

    South Belfast man

    In my opinion, and my personal opinion at that, I think that the role of the PC could be usefully expanded in many directions. I know that this fostering of community relations is one that there is a remit for, but I dont see whay they cant promote excellence in other areas such as health and safety and stewarding.

    Its a nonsense to assume groups are going to swap best practice without some level of facilitation, and we have a body that can provide such introductions