“The role of the Parades Commission remains extremely important and challenging…”

As the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, said, “It is absolutely not an option to leave a [Parades Commission] hole.” 

And, following the shelving of the Sinn Féin/DUP drafted Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill, today the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Hugo Swire, announced “the launch of an open competition for appointment to the posts of chairman and members of the Parades Commission.”

[Hugo Swire] said: “Regrettably in the absence of a local solution to a new framework for parading I have been left with no alternative but to begin the process of making appointments to the Parades Commission in time for next year’s marching season.

“I have therefore today launched a recruitment competition to make appointments to the position of Commission Chairman and six members of the Commission.

“The role of the Parades Commission remains extremely important and challenging. I would encourage individuals to apply who have a genuine interest in ensuring that the rights of those who parade and those who are affected by parading are treated with equal respect.”

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Any word yet on the OO response to Tommo Elliott’s politically loaded questions to the OO requesting confirmation of the DUP contention that the proposed parades legislation was just as the OO had ordered?

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a thankless task although no doubt well remunerated.
    I trust they will select people who have a few more smarts that the 6 who came up with the proposed defunct replacement.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I think Tommo has marked out the parades issue as the one he can win some votes with – I cant see any obvious other issues in which he can gain any momentum.

  • Sammy, I don’t know whether or not he can make headway but the change in rules for the nomination of First Minister post St Andrews seems to be well up his to do list.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Yes I had forgotten about that – the only problem with this issue for the UUP is that by voting for the UUP you are more likley to make it happen – so in a wierd way they need to blame the DUP but cant really shout about it too much.

  • joeCanuck

    Checked the remuneration.
    Chairperson 500 pounds, members 250 pounds per diem.
    I understand that the OO apply at least once per week to march down the Garvaghy road so a nice little income for those who can take the abuse that goes with the post.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk


    “the change in rules for the nomination of First Minister post St Andrews seems to be well up his to do list”

    This is a pointless and frankly transparent gesture by Elliott.
    He has f**k all chance of getting that legislation changed and everyone knows it.

    He may be trying to out-do the DUP (or be seen to try) but IMO he is tilting at windmills and fooling no-one.

    The best he can do with the UUP is slowly managed decline.

    Pointless, empty gestures will simply hasten that decline.

  • Sammy, I imagine the current NIMBY approach by London and Dublin will be to support SF against the Dissies.

    This means that though they may sign agreements with all of the parties – and with the people of both jurisdictions – any ‘fine-tuning’ later will be to bolster SF.

    There may also some bolstering of certain Loyalist paramilitaries to keep them on side.

    The needs and protection of the Plain People will be well down London’s and Dublin’s priorities 🙁

  • Monk, you’re most probably right about the windmills [see my conversation with FJH] but, funnily enough, it appears that he wanted a return to what the people voted for in the 1998 Agreement. The SDLP used to rant against side-deals but I’m not sure whether they would support Elliott on this one.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Nevin, MonkDeWallyDeHonk,

    Of course Tommo knows he has no chance of getting the First Minister ‘side deal’ changed but he has to do something and parades and this issue and possibly highlighting the DUP being bounced into the transfer of police looks his best bet. He has vowed to make the UUP all poweful again and although he has little chance of success he was elected to try and he will presumably launch a sustained campaign with the little ammunition (as per above) he has against the DUP.

    He may wait for the launch of this counter-attack until the OO have told the DUP they are lying fecks over the OO’s alleged design of the parades leigslation.

  • drumlins rock

    sammy possibly its more a case of dealing with the problem now so that it is less of an issue when the election comes, knowing full well that the DUP intends to use it to scare voters.

  • Procrasnow

    This is a very strange situation. We have drafted legislation, and obviously because an undemocratically mandated organization don’t like it, it is shelved.

    Who is running this country, The politicians elected by the people or a sectarian mob?

    On another point, does anyone know if other groups, whose parades are contentious, have been asked for their input and whether they have rejected the legislation also.

    And if anyone is wondering who they might be, one that springs to mind would be the gay community parades, for instance if they wanted a gay pride parade next year in Ballymena, in Larne, in Portadown, would there be much objection and contention?