Advance notice of Parades Review report..

The Strategic Review of Parading in Northern Ireland chaired by Paddy Ashdown was announced a year ago and, although it appears that their report isn’t due for publication until next week, some details are already being reported.

It is thought it favours splitting the processes of mediation and ruling when a dispute cannot be resolved. March organisers will be asked to give notice to their local district council 35 days before their planned event. If mediation failed, the dispute would be referred to a three-strong panel appointed by the OFMDFM. The panel would hold a hearing 15 days before a march and base their judgments on human rights, standards of behaviour and the applicant’s past behaviour. Rules on marches could involve no alcohol, no paramilitary trappings, no marching after 11pm and the provision of one steward to every 50 people.

What’s not reported is who will decide whether a parade is to be considered “contentious” – one role of the current Parades Commission. Update According to the Irish News [subs req for now] “Parades Commission will be replaced only if policing and justice powers are devolved and a bill of rights becomes law, a government body has insisted.” Although That Irish News report [subs req] doesn’t actually quote the Review body on that issue. Instead the IN report says, “Nationalists insist there can be no change without the transfer of policing and justice powers alongside specific protections in a forthcoming bill of rights.” And, “Parades on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown and the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast will not be within any new body’s remit.” Ahh Here’s where they’ve quoted the Review body – “The transfer of policing and justice matters to the executive is part of the wider jigsaw of politics in Northern Ireland and progress in these areas is very likely to affect progress on the transfer responsibility for parading issues.” Adds BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport asks – “If a three strong panel appointed to rule on a particular marching dispute is divided will they be allowed to reach a verdict by a majority vote, or should it be unanimous?”

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  • Dewi

    Why not just ban them all? There are surely better ways of having fun.

  • Pete Baker

    Ban all parades, Dewi?

    Or just the ones you think are contentious?

  • Dewi

    Nope – all of them.

  • Pete Baker

    Ah well, there go the vintage car rallies..

  • Dewi

    Vintage car rallies are the worst – I reckon that’s what started it all off…

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah, of course you did, Dewi.

    Let’s at least acknowledge that, if you’re going to have a process of mediation and assessment of compliance, there is also a need to differentiate between contentious and non-contentious parades.

  • Dewi

    No – be radical and ban the lot. I swear it would work. – I’m actually being serious.

  • Pete Baker

    Right after you ban all parades in Wales, Dewi.

    Sorry, but you’re being ridiculous.

  • Mark McGregor

    A side issue is it might make things easier for Republican groups that do not recognise the legitmacy of the PSNI/RUC. Handing a notification to a Council isn’t anywhere near as problematic.

  • Quiz master

    I agree with Dewi ban all the parades republican and orange. All they’ve ever done is cause tensions.

    Or………… we could always have parity of esteem for Easter 1916 republican parades. For every orange march that goes through an area that doesn’t want it a republican march should be carried out in the unionist area where the marchers come from. Instead of Bonfires with tricolours saying Kill all Taigs we could have ones with union jacks saying kill all prods. The Republican marches could also organize mass rallys to spout ignorant hate filled messages about protestants based on unfounded prejudices similar to the anti catholic bull spouted by the orangemen

  • Dewi

    Not ridiculous – just radical. You could have Orange parade competitions in Windsor Park?
    Whitsun parades in my village were a good laugh – sports in the park after – hardly the same.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    Here’s an equally radical solution which doesn’t require infringments of any human rights.

    Allow all parades and police any public order issues which emerge.

  • Dewi

    Equally radical agreed – but stupid and inflammatory (can’t spell that) – just ban them.

  • Pete Baker

    To spell it out, Dewi, your proposed solution would also ban parades in support of an Irish Language Act.

    It’s simply irrational.

  • Dewi

    “your proposed solution would also ban parades in support of an Irish Language Act.”

    yep – try petitions and stuff? Are you seriously suggesting a parade has ever achieved anything useful Pete?

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    You may be comfortable advocating the banning of all parades.

    But it’s a restriction of expression of public opinion that I don’t want to see implemented – call me an old-style libertarian.

    Whether those parades affect the policies of any administration is an entirely different issue.

  • Dewi

    “Comfortable” – of course not – but July is crap every year and self-re-inforcing – need to try something.

  • Pete Baker

    In case you missed the point, Dewi.

    Any solution will apply all year long.. not just in July.

  • Dewi

    Not missed the point at all.

  • Steve

    I wonder when they are going to allow the hunger strike commemoratrion parade in Ballymena? I mean they havent ever even allowed the parade to find out what kind of public disturbance it might create?

    Atleast with Whiterock and Garvaghjy road the Unionist community has already proved they arent trustworthy

  • LURIG

    Some people are missing the point here. The scrapping of the Parades Commission has been on the cards for quite a while and comes as NO surprise. It is part of the bigger St. Andrews political deal that will also involve the transfer of policing and justice to the Stormont Assembly. It is a Sinn Fein trade off with the DUP that will inevitably end in marches down the Garvaghy & Ormeau Roads. The Nationalist residents of these areas are about to be visited with the dreaded Orange Stormtroopers once again in order to quench the Shinners power lust. Sinn Fein, by surrendering their own principles and core beliefs, have demonstrated that EVERYTHING & ANYTHING can be sacrificed when you are under the spell of British ministerial office. The Catholic residents of Portadown & South Belfast are but mere expendable underlings who won’t be allowed to stand in the way of Gerry & Martin’s Animal Farm experience. I predicted it a while ago and unfortunately I have been vindicated. Nationalists should prepare for the Sinn Fein ‘Bigger Picture’ Offensive where they will hold badly advertised ‘secret’ meetings to discuss ‘allowing Orange Parades in Portadown & the Ormeau Road’ for ‘THE BIGGER PICTURE’ i.e. so that they can continue to fill their bellies at the Stormont trough. There’s no doubt about it, anyone who went to jail for this crowd wasted their lives while those down a hole had their lives wasted for NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. WHAT A CON IT ALL WAS!!

  • BonarLaw

    LURIG

    ” anyone who went to jail for this crowd wasted their lives while those down a hole had their lives wasted for NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. WHAT A CON IT ALL WAS!!”

    To say nothing of their victims.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m not for banning fancy dress parades. Sorry, Dewi. My kid won once.

  • LURIG

    BonarLaw

    When I said ‘those down a hole’ I included the victims but if the words offend I withdraw them.

  • TAFKABO

    Instead of banning parades, why not just make it illegal to protest against a parade?
    What do you think Dewi? it makes as much sense as your solution.
    Banning things is such simple and obviously effective way to deal with contentious issues.
    They should ban stealing next, crime would disappear over night.

  • God help our wit

    I can just see all the DUP and UUP cllrs in Craigavon, or Ballymena, rubbing their hands with glee as at last they get some input in ensuring their fellow brethren get marching along the Garvaghy Road or through Dunloy.

    OFM/DFM appointing those who will adjudicate on parades – after the fiasco with the Victims Commissioners – surely this is all a jest.

    This report is designed in such a way as to make sure that its recommendations will never be acted upon.

  • McGrath

    People from NI deciding things about NI! That’s just ridiculous. Actually, in all seriousness, the PNSI riot squads better get up to speed.

  • McGrath

    Dewi

    Here’s an equally radical solution which doesn’t require infringments of any human rights.

    Allow all parades and police any public order issues which emerge.

    Posted by Pete Baker on Apr 24, 2008 @ 10:51 PM

    Did we get a new police force?

  • truth and justice

    It looks like the DUP are delivering on this aswell slowly but surely!

  • Rory

    “…no marching after 11pm” !

    To consider permitting marching only up to 11pm as a new restriction, given the noise, drunkeness and mayhem associated with such marches indicates to me a society that is quite insane.

    If such a proposal were made to extend the Notting Hill Carnival until so late there would be outrage. They should all be sent home to sleep it off by 6pm.

  • cut the bull

    Mark Mc Gregor

    “A side issue is it might make things easier for Republican groups that do not recognise the legitmacy of the PSNI/RUC. Handing a notification to a Council isn’t anywhere near as problematic”.

    It could also be a way of working the PSNI into communities where they have little or no chance of being accepted by stealth.

    As it is not mentioned any where that the PSNI will not be on the panels picked by Martin Mc Guinness and Peter Lavery to deal with contentious parades.

    I would bet that the PSNI are going to be a component part of any such panels.

  • Quizdaemon

    Dewi once again proves the old saying about common sense not being so common afterall. Taken to the extreem as he wants it even harmless parades like chinese new year, gay pride and even the Lord Mayors Parade in belfast would nipped in the bud.

    Putting parades in the hands of councilors is a mistake. In Unionist supermajority councils parades will get through no matter what, while in Derry the Apprentice Boys might as well kiss their ass bye bye. Until our politicos learn the fine art of compremise they shouldn’t have the kind of power that can and will cause riots on the street.

  • cut the bull

    Or even Peter Robinson my mistake, ach sure both the peters are probably millionaires lol

  • Kinky

    A lot of madness being spouted today.

    There are draft proposals in the process of being passed through that should come into effect within five years. The Police planning departments who resource parades will be able to generate a £ figure for how much a parade costs.

    The cost in officers wages, fuel, etc will be passed to the parade organisers who foot the bill. Should see an end to the disruptive and pointless minor “feeder” parades and indeed many “county” level demonstrations.

    Policing parades isnt Policing. Its traffic duty and keeping the drunks in line.

  • x

    THis proposal is losely based on a South African model but there is one great flaw – have you looked at the quality of our local councillors?

    Most find it difficult to stay awake at their council meetings, keeping up isn’t required and intelligence is a decided disadvantage.

    Having to decide on who can or cannot parade would be a sectarian pantomine – from all sides.

    Clearly we need to move to a new all inclusive policy – all parades will be allowed – Hunger strike parades in Ballymena Orange parades on the Garvaghy road. Only one lane of the road to be used at anytime (as per Scotland)and traffic breaks to be built in to reduce disruption. THe right to protest to be up held but any violence or threat of violence should be sufficient grounds to ban either the parade or protest. Paramilitary trappings or offensive behaviour should be dealt with under criminal proceedings, so “Jesus is a fag” should have caused an arrest and dealt with through the courts – same way any “Kill all taigs” or IRA re-enactments should be reported to the courts.

    Ultimately unless we move to a live and let live position there will be no resolution and this issue could present the potential for future conflict

  • Steve

    X

    Actually the Jesus was a fag crowd have a compelling arguement. And since all evidence of Jesus is anecdotal their arguement should carry as much weight as those opposed to the view point. The basic problem is that by labelling him that you think they are trying to denigrate him where as really they are just trying to claim him as their own

    The Bias is yours not theirs

  • Debbie

    ‘Ultimately unless we move to a live and let live position there will be no resolution and this issue could present the potential for future conflict’

    Then you agree with pete?

    ‘Here’s an equally radical solution which doesn’t require infringments of any human rights.

    Allow all parades and police any public order issues which emerge.

    Posted by Pete Baker on Apr 24, 2008 @ 10:51 PM ‘

    Which brings us right back to live and let live? How do you allow a parade thru Garvaghy road and police the public order which would come in its wake without going right back to squre one?

    Then again why bring in new bodies to deal with contentious parades and not include Garvaghy Road?

    I’m utterly amazed at steve above though!

    ‘The basic problem is that by labelling him that you think they are trying to denigrate him where as really they are just trying to claim him as their own’

    You mean Jesus ain’t a fag????????????????

    Curiouser and curiouser!

  • Steve

    Debbie

    To me Jesus is just a shaman and magician who through centuries has been raised up to mythical creature status. But thats just me, I don’t actually care if he was or was not a homosexual I just don’t agree with X’s point that someone should go to gaol for saying he was

  • TAFKABO

    X.

    Good post, apart from the views on “jesus is a fag”, though I think Steve has already made that point well enough.

  • slothful

    It seems to me that there could be an underlying reason, which has nothing to do with human rights, why some quarters advocate no restrictions on parades.

    Statistics from the parades commission reveal that in 2006/2007 of the 3911 parades which occurred in Northern Ireland 2755 were organised by Unionist organisations. Significantly, there was an increase of 335 Unionist parades during the same period.

    Notably, also, the number of parades organised by Nationalist organisations in 2006/2007 was 186, just 5% of all recorded parades.

  • joeCanuck

    while in Derry the Apprentice Boys might as well kiss their ass bye bye

    I don’t think so. That organization had the wit and the courtesy to sit down with the residents and come to a compromise solution. As far as I know, their parades have not met any significant opposition since.

  • Ben

    The whole point of the Apprentice Boys situation in Derry is that it served the purposes of the organization and the Bogside Residents Group/SF when they first started sorting it out. Today the city benefits from having the parade come off quietly, though you could argue about costs and inconvenience and such. There is clearly a vested interest though for a nationalist city to allow NI’s largest loyalist parade to come off peacefully. Much can be learned from this model. Meanwhile, in areas that remain contentious parades should be allowed only up until 10 o’clock…. in the morning. Compare the early parades with the evening parades in the Ardoyne and elsewhere. Keeping it early will limit the size of parades and the problems associated it with them, and the size of the protests and the problems associated with them. I’m for keeping the parades commission too, much better to have people furious at them than at each other. Isn’t that what government is for? It provides common ground for the ABOD and the AOH, next up are the RIRA parades in Fisherwick/Ballymena. Cheers, Ben

  • kensei

    Pete

    Ban all parades, Dewi?

    Or just the ones you think are contentious?

    Do you believe that such a thing as a “contentious parade” exists?

  • Debbie

    Meanwhile, in areas that remain contentious parades should be allowed only up until 10 o’clock…. in the morning.

    Ben they have to return, as well as the early evening parades – why can’t they use busses for the return journey??? This would relieve the public order situation, where more often than not a crowd has gathered to meet them on the return leg which sparks the trouble. Also remember the morning parades before ten am can be pretty loud on early sat and sun mornings, so they do need to modify their behaviour. Yet there was a huge furore when they were asked to march down Garvaghy road in silence. So something has to give, although I know not what….

  • Ben

    Debbie they have an interesting thing over in Amerikee with salmon that can’t make it past the dams going to and fro on their journey. They pack them into barges or sometimes into containers and “bus” them around the dams. That’s the Pacific Northwest, and nobody asks the salmon if they like it. In North and West Belfast bussing doesn’t seem to go over too well with the local “fish”. I don’t see that as relieving the public order situation, didn’t seem to work in Whiterock anyway. You’re right, something has to give, but, except for about 20 of the same young bhoys from the Bog, it seems to have given in Derry, so it IS possible. Early morning is fine if you ask me, those that are awoken can head off to a church service, spend some “found” time with their significant others, or just endure it. How much ruckus can anyone put up that early in the day?

    More broadly though, conduct is certainly one thing that needs to be addressed, and hopefully there’s less drinking at that hour, NI isn’t Russia… yet. Cheers, Ben

  • silver_maestro

    I think we need to remember there is a HUGE difference between the decent, law-abiding citizens, be they “Orange” or “Green”, who wish to parade peacefully, usually to a Church service, and with their families.

    On the other hand, there are those who want to parade with the aim of provoking disrest, so they can chuck a few stones and bottles…maybe we should create a paintballing-style hobby for them?

    And I guarantee the latter group of people have no idea of the real meaning behind parades!

  • Dewi

    I’m very often wrong…except when I’m in a minority of one – ban every parade of any sort……Nos Da

  • Debbie

    ‘I’m very often wrong…except when I’m in a minority of one – ban every parade of any sort……’

    Can’t do that Dewi, who would we rip the back out of on slugger???

  • Northern Boy

    Dewi

    Define parade.

    If it is “a group of people proceeding along a public road or thoroughfare with a common purpose or destination” then funeral processions and schoolchildren walking to the park are included. So is meeting up with friends and walking to the pub.

    NB

  • Steve

    while in Derry the Apprentice Boys might as well kiss their ass bye bye

    No Derry nationalists are capable of a great deal more class then Ballymena unionists

  • Dewi

    “Define parade. ” – that’s what your Ashdown thingy does ain’t it?

  • All may increasingly not be rosy

    Did anyone see Gerard Rice on behalf of the lower Ormeau Road residents on TV this evening? Definitely not a happy camper. The Shinners lost MacCionnaith from the Garvaghy Road last year. It would appear that SF is either losing or has completely lost touch with those core activists in those important grassroots communities.
    As the song says “There may be trouble ahead”

  • Steve

    I see from newshound today that the parades decomissioning will only come after the Police and justice fortfolio has been devolved. Wonder how that will play in the DUP and UUP offices

  • Muad’Dub

    [i]No Derry nationalists are capable of a great deal more class then Ballymena unionists
    Posted by Steve on Apr 25, 2008 @ 10:14 PM[/i]

    I strongly disagree with that. While I agree with the point made by others that the Apprentice Boys has been more progressive than their Orange Order counterparts (which is amazingly almost the same rank and file but with assholes in charge) I know that if Orange parades where forced in Portadown and Ormeau, nationalism would react in the only way they could fight back and block the ABoD. The sad fact is that this country and the tribes within it do very much operate on a tit for tat basis.

  • independantunionist

    If Belfast goes Unionist can we keep the St. Pats shenanigans confined to the far far west?