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


  • Cynic2

    What’s the problem?

    He can respond to the public consultation like everyone else. He needs to get used to his real position in the pecking order – somewhere well below the Orange Order but a fraction ahead of his colleagues in Alliance and the binmen’s union.

  • Drumlins Rock

    now now cynic, I would not want to cross the Binmen, how long do you give Fordy?

  • alan56

    Ooops… David Forde made to look like the DUP/SF message boy. That was always the worry with this deal

  • Cynic2


    3 months and he will walk.

  • Cynic2


    message PERSON please. Its Alliance we are dealing with here

  • Drumlins Rock

    ack cynic, allow for the summer recess, give him 5.

  • DC

    Ah look our wee democracy is great.

  • halfer

    This content of this bill is disgusting. It allows for government to ban public assembly by law and this will ultimately be used against political opponents.

  • DUP and S/F are not used to what you might call open debate and delegation.

    I hope Mr Ford has patience – and a veto…

  • Mark McGregor

    halfer – I was orginally looking at that before this aspect came to the fore. I will return to it in detail soon if someone else doesn’t address it first.

  • Cynic2

    You protest too much.

    Only assemblies that don’t agree with SF or DUP policies are likely to be banned but -hey, there’s balance in that isnt there..

  • Cynic2


    I was thinking about the recess but there’s the marching season as well…that may be when the cracks start to open up

  • iluvni

    Ford will swallow any humiliation to keep his big job … especially since he secured the massive concession from Sinn Fein and DUP that a pointless paper on his precious ‘shared future’ will be forwarded to some committee at some stage for discussion.

  • salem

    the CSI document will not be ready until April 2011 – supposedly its not even a complete draft ! It has been hastly put together to appease Fordy to make sure they take the job!!

  • Mark McGregor


    If you want to email Mick or myself with more detail on this it sounds like it might be worth a dedicated entry.

  • slug

    If Ford resigns and no replacement is agreed then who administers justice powers ?

  • Driftwood

    Who cares? and it doesn’t matter. Sophie Dahl could do the job, as well as her excellent cookery programme. The latter might take more of her time, but it has more impact on people’s lives here than the former.

  • Mark McGregor

    If my uncle had tits he’d be my auntie – but if that happened the Brits would legislate to return the authority to the SoS/NIO.


    Can we A Ford this man?


    Ford will Not resign

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood, is that the professional opinion of a person who thinks that Northern Ireland is just like Finchley ?

    How could the justice minister seriously propose to resign over the fact that the parading proposals are proceeding in line with what was agreed at Hillsborough ?

  • Drumlin Rock

    Which means he will take his party down with him, just like the Greens down south.

  • Harry Jay

    I have not bothered to find out what’s going on here but there is no doubt in my mind that the DUP is unquestionably right. (If two or more people in the same place do question us, then they will fall foul of the new anti assembly legislation)

  • dingdong

    Of course fordee wasn’t asked/informed, sure all he has to do is what he’s told!

    The lure of the ministerial call and all that lovely leather sure who needs principles.

    Vote Allaiance get a lacky