“…time for an effort to be made to reduce rather than heighten tension”

Parades Commission Chair Roger Poole has just released a statement on the weekend’s events… below the fold:

“We have been asked to review our decisions but in fact there are very narrow grounds upon which we can review decisions and in this instance the Commission did not deem that there were sufficient grounds for a review.

“We would ask that those who intend to come to the city on Sunday review their own positions and redouble their efforts to take tension out of this issue in advance of the parade. Belfast deserves a peaceful weekend and the citizens and traders in the city are entitled to a trouble free day. Anyone intent of causing or contributing to civil unrest should stay away.

“I acknowledge the helpful comments from the GOC of the British Army who has recognised that not everyone in NI supports the army and that there is a legitimate right to a legal protest. It is not helpful that some political and community leaders continue to call for either the homecoming parade or the legally notified protest, to be banned.

“Now is the time for an effort to be made to reduce rather than heighten tension around this parade and protest. There is an onus on those political and community leaders in a position of influence to demonstrate leadership between now and Sunday through their words, their actions and their commitment to non violent actions.

“Our door remains open to all political parties and to those organising protests and parades to come into the Commission and discuss with us how best to ensure a peaceful day.”