Exclusive: Proposed Parades legislation not approved by Justice Minister

Yesterday saw the launch of the consultation on Public Assemblies, Parades and Protest, the paper published by OFMDFM was the latest step in a process agreed at Hillsborough. Despite major elements falling under the remit of the Department of Justice and Minister Ford, Slugger can reveal OFMDFM did not consult him and he has not endorsed the proposed legislation.

A Department of Justice spokesperson stated to Slugger:

During the drafting of this legislation the Department of Justice did not exist therefore formal consultation could not have taken place with a Justice Minister.

As part of the consultation process Minister David Ford now has the opportunity to respond as Justice Minister.

However, the spokesperson did not note the document was presented to the Executive 3 days after Minister Ford’s appointment and was then released for public consultation before any Ministerial input. David Ford and the Department of Justice bizarrely intend to respond to a paper that has massive impact on their department at the same time as the general public.

So has the SF/DUP timetable from Hillsborough driven a coach and horses through Ford’s standing at the Executive and exposed another Minister sidelined to meet the needs of the two largest parties?

ADDS: Areas of the proposed legislation that fall firmly within DoJ remit and weren’t endorsed by them and the Minister.

1. It would include Public Assemblies (meetings and protests) currently under the Public Order Act.

Public assembly

5.-(1) In this Act “public assembly” means-

(a) a public procession (including parades) (see section 6),

(b) a public meeting (see section 7), and

(c) a protest meeting (see section 8).

2. Prohibition orders will be dealt with by the Department of Justice

Prohibition orders

27.-(1) A prohibition order is an order of the Department of Justice prohibiting the holding of-

3. A host of new offences and tarriffs are recommended under the following headings

Organisation and participation

Failure to comply with a requirement