Cheerio Commission?

The News Letter (not online) claims to have details of the Strategic Review of Parades preliminary recommendations. Notifications in future will be sent to local councils who will then inform relevant parties ie police, community safety, residents (similar to the south african model). Supplemented by a new arbitration panel appointed by OFM/DFM with a shift to more transparent procedures and decision-making. There will also be some broader forum for parade organisers and objectors to discuss issues around the parades but no future for the Parades Commission.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”Notifications in future will be sent to [b]local councils[/b][/i] who will then inform relevant parties ie police, community safety, residents (similar to the south african model).”[/i]

    Thank God IRA/Sinn Fein didn’t get their 7 super councils or else they would have effectively stopped the parades in the West.

  • fair_deal


    The arbitration panel rules on objections not the councils

  • joeCanuck


    Ever hear of a council called Derry?
    Ever hear of an organization called The Apprentice Boys?

    Never the twain shall meet?

    Silly boy.

  • Mark McGregor

    So the main proposal is to replace the PC with..well..a renamed Parades Commission and to get the Councils to do the paperwork? Looks like another StAndrews for the DUP, same deal just move the furniture a bit.

  • Twinbrook

    There is a way forward and its through dialogue…

    I for one believe that the Twelfth is part of our shared heritage and I look forward to the day when all traditions are made welcome at parades…

  • another sell-out?

    Looking at this proposal and given the long history of discrimination within Craigavon council (including the shennanigans over the Chief Executive at the end of last year – still ongoing) I’d say Nationalists in Portadown wouldn’t trust that particular council to be next or near the parades issues with a barge-pole.

    Just because Spike sits on the Review Panel for SF, and the political composition of Belfast City Council is: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 15 / Sinn Féin 14 / Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 8 / Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 7 / Alliance Party 4 / Progressive Unionist Party 2 / Independent 1; it doesn’t follow that this one size fits all approach will suit every area.

    If Policing and Justice get devolved, council involvement will become more than just a paper shuffling exercise. SF will deliver what the OO/DUP/UUP and loyalist paramilitaries couldn’t – orange marches on Garvaghy Road, Dunloy, Bellaghy and the Ormeau.


    Two years ago my uncle came home from Australia for a holiday. He stated that he wanted to go into Belfast City centre to watch the 12th Parades. As someone from the ‘other’ tradition I was a bit wary but took him in anyway to experience this ‘cultural occasion’. When we hit Royal Avenue it was a tip toe through pools of vomit, broken bottles and gangs of youths wrapped in Ulster flags falling all over the place. A walk along Donegall Place took us past families with massive alcohol carry outs lining the pavement in full view of signs outlawing it and police officers watching them. Babies were crying as their parents/grandparents swilled booze all around them. The cursing, swearing and general intimidating atmosphere was a total turn off but we waited on the main parade passing. About 5 OR 6 bands in we saw a banner lauding a dead loyalist paramilitary and many of the bands wore uniforms and carried drums that gave their allegiances to differing loyalist paramilitary group. In addition we seen various individuals on parade along the route who were alligned to these same paramilitary groups, some of them public faces. Many of the bands had their OWN followers who were screaming ‘UP THE UDA’ or ‘UVF’ as they marched with their friends. A Swedish tourist commented to us away from the Parade that ‘this is NOT about culture but an aggressive military display’ Don’t get me wrong there were some excellent bands and marchers who were there for the occasion or because of tradition but I would say it was about 50/50 between those who were there for the parade and those who were there for more sinister reasons. THIS is the biggest objection that most nationalists have to these parades, it’s not really the actual Orange Order members who think it is a religious occasion or many of the genuine bands but rather the paramilitary trappings that are so obviously on show. The events on the Springfield Road in September 2005 also put many people off, including many Protestants. The failure of the Orange Order to condemn the rioters and attacks on property was shameful and some of their ‘public’ spokespersons were just an embarrassment. If the Parades Commission is being scrapped just to indulge the Orange Order and Unionist politicians I would fear for further Garvaghy Road style protests and trouble. Sinn Fein and the SDLP should also take note that many nationalists will not simply roll over and be used as patsies to satisfy the DUP or Orange Order so that they don’t threaten the Assembly. The only way forward is the old cliche, dialogue with people living in these areas AND the Loyal Orders can’t be allowed to keep getting away with this ‘not talking to terrorists nonsense’. If that was the case half of the lodges wouldn’t be talking to each other.

  • 0b101010

    LURIG, flip the labels and you’re describing St. Patrick’s Day in Belfast as viewed by themmuns. Practically to the letter.


    I would agree in respect of the booze, pools of vomit and drunken youths on St. Patrick’s Day but there is definately NOT the same underlying sectarianism that dominates the Twelth. In addition the St. Pat’s Parade organisers and Belfast City Council have bent over backwards to accomodate Unionist input and involvement on MARCH 17. I have NEVER seen the same happen on July 12 or Belfast City Council demanding Nationalist input. There is more of a carnival feeling about March 17 that doesn’t exclude someone for being Protestant. I just couldn’t roll up and march on July 12 because I am a Catholic. There’s a vast difference and the analogy is a non starter.

  • The hind tit

    There you are. We do have lots in common. Isn’t that nice.

  • 0b101010

    Really? No waving of tricolours? No paramilitary displays? No shouting of “Up the RA”? No Republican anthems played? No political speeches? No sea of Celtic jerseys? I’ve noted each and more at St. Patrick’s Days over the years.

    I understand that, naturally, you see St. Paddy’s from your own viewpoint but others simply don’t see it as inviting as you describe.

    I’d like to see both days neutered in tone but I’d have to admit that St. Patrick’s Day has more at its core to offer both sides than the Twelfth.


    I have NO time for the in your face Oirishness that goes on or the drunken tricolour waving youths either and would agree with shifing the main theatre towards Custom House Square but the whole place doesn’t shut down for a fortnight to accomodate it. St. Patrick’s Day is over in a couple of hours while the Twelth drags on for months with wood collecting and eyesore bonfires on view from April onwards. The Orange Order takes over MOST of the North and it’s total shutdown. There are a few diddly dee groups on come March 17 and tourists, the drunken youths aside, seem to take to it far better than July 12. Your analogy is still a poor one and a bad attempt at a plague on both your houses.

  • 0b101010

    I wasn’t trying to say that they are equal and opposite as a whole; I wanted to point out that I’ve heard every criticism you made in your story about your uncle’s visit leveled against St. Patrick’s Day and seen much of it with my own eyes. You got me though — I do think how these events are handled is a plague on both houses and a blight on all of us.

  • kensei


    Really? No waving of tricolours?

    I can appreciate how it would make people uncomfortable, but I’m unaware that the Tricolour is in itself a sectarian symbol. LURIGs post isn’t really objecting to the presence of Union Jacks.

    No paramilitary displays?

    In the centre of Belfast? No. I concede it could happen.

    No shouting of “Up the RA”?

    As above

    No Republican anthems played?

    You’d have to look for it to find it, and out of the city centre unless you count bars playing a selection of Oirish and Irish tunes to be “Republican anthems”

    No political speeches?

    Only St Patrick’s Day? When?

    No sea of Celtic jerseys?

    As point one. When did Celtic Football Club become in and of itself, a sectarian symbol?

    I’ve noted each and more at St. Patrick’s Days over the years.

    I think it’s been pretty constant. Last year I spent time dandering around town and it was mostly kids with Tricolours for capes. And Tricolour hats. And tricolour sunglasses. Hideously tacky, but hardly earth shattering. The bigger risk is that there can be (and has been) trouble after the pubs spill out. But it’s not really sectarian in nature.

  • Worried

    Portadown was termed “the Orange Citadel ” by Orangemen long before Garvaghy Road was even heard of. Fenians used to know their place and didn’t dare object. But then one day Fenians DID object in the Tunnel in 1980’s and again in the 1990’s on the GR. The unionist response was to see the Orange Order, the DUP. the UUP (Trimble) Billy Wright, Fulton, Adair and co all try to join together to put the Fenians back in their place. And fail.

    And the Fenian response was to say F”%* Y”*!

    It probably still is the view of 99% of the Fenians in the Tunnel or Garvaghy Road that OO marches should be kept to the town centre and away from GRoad (that’s what all the young ones call it)- that’s probably also why the Parades Commission has never commissioned another independent survey of people’s attitudes in case they repeat repeat the results of the one in 1997.

    Does anyone remember that survey carried out in the Garvaghy Road area by the Independent Review of Parades and Marches in 1996 which found that 93% of the local Catholic community in Portadown were sympathetic to the concerns expressed by the Residents Coalition.

    Or that:

    * 97% of all those questioned in that survey, and 99% of Catholics, said that parade organisers should take into account demographic and other changes which have occurred in the religious mix of an area.

    Or that:

    * When asked if a parade should go through an area where the religious balance is 10% (or less) Protestant and 90% (or more) Catholic – NO Catholics were in favour of a march going ahead, with 90% of Catholics calling for rerouting or outright ban on such marches.

    As for estimating public opinion within the nationalist community today, the GRRC has stated to the Parades Commission and others that they are quite willing to see such a comprehensive survey carried out again within their community in order to ensure the views of local people are fully reflected.

    What puzzles me is simple: why have the GRRC had no takers on their offer????

  • Danny O’Connor

    Councils should take nothing to do with this.It would lead to chaos,a council that could not reach agreement on a contentious issue such as this,would not have the vires to spend ratepayer’s money engaging in attempts to resolve them through mediation or policing.When we all collectively grow up then we might be in a better position to deal with this in a more constructive and mature way.Does anyone think that we are there yet ,I dont think so,alas it is easy to blame somebody else.Let the MLAs earn their money,but that might be a bit much to expect from the politicians who could not agree during their first 4 attenmpts whether Sinn Féin could use the long gallery or not.

  • cut the bull

    Think about it Lisburn council which is by now famous for its overt sectarianism, could vote for a Loyalist or Loyal Order parade to pass through Twinbrook, Poleglass when and if this comes into being.

  • cut the bull

    And if certain councillors on Belfast City Council were brave enough it could sort the problems on the Albertbridge Rd, Springfield Rd, Crumlin Rd, Whitewell Rd and Ormeau Rd once and for all.

    Sadly I dont think those who usually hold the balance of power and live mainly no where near the disputed parade routes have the guts to make a change.

    This was shown when the Pride of the Raven attempted to march through Donegall Pass every body and their Granny was complaining or showing concern.

    Yet when this same band continually march past the Short Strand area breaching Parades Commission determinarions and the Code of Conduct.

    Councillors some of whom are usually participating in such parades, the PSNI, PPS and most importantly the Parades Commission tend to suffer at this juncture from the three monkeys syndrome of hear no, see no and speak no evil in relation to such parades.


    It looks like the Parades Commission is about to be scrapped to indulge the DUP and Orange Order. That is a very dangerous game and I sincerely hope that Sinn Fein & the SDLP are not complicit in a dirty side deal regarding the Garvaghy Road that sacrifices the dignity and ‘relative peace’ that Portadown Catholics currently have just to keep the Assembly going. The Portadown Lodge should accept that the Garvaghy Road is OVER for them and should stick to the current route. The days are over when the Shinners can just steamroll into nationalist communities and tell them what’s what. From some reports today it looks like a NEW DUP leadership will DEMAND a march down the Garvaghy Road to test Sinn Fein. Irrespective of what the Shinners think or do these communities have had enough and aren’t prepared for more 1990’s style misery.This is a NON STARTER and Connolly House should understand that.