Owen Paterson: “It is absolutely not an option to leave a [Parades Commission] hole.”

With the future of the DUP/Sinn Féin drafted Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill currently uncertain the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, has told Parliament’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that if no new legislation was produced by the NI Assembly he will “reappoint a Parades Commission by January next year”.

The draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill has already been consulted on and is due to go through the Northern Ireland Assembly this autumn.

It was drawn up following the report of the working group on parades set up following agreement on the devolution of policing and justice at Hillsborough.

Mr Paterson said he regretted the violence in Ardoyne which left 80 police injured in battles with suspected dissident republicans. One policewoman had a piece of masonry dropped on her head.

But the Northern Ireland Secretary added: “Most parades went off peacefully. Those organising must remember that there is this tiny (violent) number. Is it really worth it for those small number of parades to have that whole image of parading distorted on world television?

“I think the Parades Commission has done a good job, it took away the difficulty of embroiling the police in difficult decisions on routing, they have resolved the vast majority of contentious parades.

“It is absolutely not an option to leave a hole.”

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  • Elvis Parker

    Looks like Paterson poking the UUP in the eye to me. The UUP leadership cabal went on and on (perhaps betraying the fact they are nearly all Orangemen!) about the need to replace the Commission.
    Paterson is fed up with UUP figures slagging the Conservative link up and the likes of Cobain trying to threaten the Conservatives so he has used this opportunity to signal that he doesnt care what they think

  • Neil

    There was masell thinking the UUP would have a hot line direct to the UK government. Winning seats was a formality, and in the event of winning at least one the UUP were looking forward to flexing their undemocratic muscles and exert influence not commensurate with their numbers, through their good buddy call me Dave. Shame they came rolling in with a big fat zero wha?

  • Alias

    Well, the British state is sovereign so if the local administrators can’t administrate its rule to the central government’s satisfaction then it will do it directly.

  • Alias

    “Those organising must remember that there is this tiny (violent) number. Is it really worth it for those small number of parades to have that whole image of parading distorted on world television?”

    Who is he appealing to: the organisers of contentious parades or the parades’ commission? PR isn’t a parameter for the commission, so why introduce a factor that is only applicable outside of the commission? There seems to be some implicit threat that if contentious parades are not dropped by the organisers that they will be dropped the state via its reformatted commission. That is tantamount to curtailing civil liberties in order to appease violent blackmailers.

  • Pete Baker

    Not quite what he’s saying, Alias.

    He’s just telling them that unless they bring in new arrangements the old ones will remain in place.

  • HeinzGuderian

    At least they tried the democratic way………………….a tad more peaceful than firing mortars into the PM’s back garden……….wha ??

  • Neil

    At least they tried the democratic way

    Very amusing, I suppose that’s why the only government they had a free hand in running was prorogued by the beloved British due to their very democratic gerrymandering sectarian ways. And good to see that the spirit that led to Stormont being prorogued is still alive and kicking going on 40 years later when instead of winning power at a polling station they attempted to steal it by circumventing democracy and making friends with call me Dave.

    So presumably they tried democracy at some point in between but dropped it like a hot stone when it didn’t provide them a free reign (due to the lack of votes ya see).

    a tad more peaceful than firing mortars into the PM’s back garden

    Certainly was, but then it was the UUs that attempted to steal the moral highground by lying about being a new political force, dedicated to democracy and fair play. All lies of course, but then decent people vote Ulster Unionist (so the whole of NI must be scumbags then, saying so few voted for the lying, moral compasses in the ucuNF).

  • Tom Idiot

    Could also be Paterson and Cameron getting their own back on UUP for their daft vote against devolving policing and justice?

    No thread on SF plan for rejecting cuts? Dont they realise that the Conservatives won the General Election and SF didnt?

  • Damian O’Loan

    “The DUP has ensured:

    • a new start and new structure for resolving parades,a timetable for completion of new parades legislation,and that the Parades Commission will be gone by the end of the year,”

    This is the promise from the DUP 2010 manifesto. That was two months after Hillsborough. It seems someone was lying.

    A think another series of threads would only be fair. We wouldn’t want a party to be found lying to its electorate then threatening crisis and going back to the Downing St to discuss ‘understandings’.

  • Cynic

    So SF say no cuts. But the budget is fixed and will be cut soi the only option then for them is to resign innit. They will get little sympathy in London or Dublin or with the electorate anywehere

  • ThomasMourne

    Let’s apply some democracy to the parades issue.
    Let local registered voters decide whether a parade takes place or not.
    The politicians have failed to deal with the matter in a sensible way [as with many other issues].

  • Cynic

    define local

  • snowstorm

    David Simpson sounded like a buffon on the news tonight. He complained that the SOS was issuing a threat that if there was no deal the Parades Commission would remain.

    I’d love to hear Simpson’s view of how parades would be handled next year in the absence of a political deal?

    It’s not a threat David, it’s political reality.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Anybody got any idea what the british war cabinet were discussing inside 10 Downing St when the Provos launched their attack ?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The DUP agreed to the transfer of police powers on the basis of SF agreeing to the replacment of the parades commission – which in turn was dependent on SF and the DUP agreeing to and getting legislation passed.

    This always looked like a desperate politcal ruse by the DUP terrified of an Assembly election if they didnt agree to the transfer of police.

    The TUV will make merry hell out of this if there is no agreement (as will the UUP) and this may yet breathe life back into Jimbo Allisters political carcass.

  • ThomasMourne

    Local means a street, section of a street, estate, village, or wherever the majority of residents do not want to be subjected to sectarian parades or demonstrations.

  • Pete Baker

    And both the DUP and Sinn Féin remain committed to passing the legislation – in line with what the working group agreed.

    That’s what they’ve said.