Parading issues require real political solutions not just an ad hoc sticking plaster…

So it’s the eleventh of July. And nearly all politician of all political stripes are making hay over who’s to blame for any impending trouble in Ardoyne (in the last few years the rioters have been nationalist, and they’ve not waited for those Orange feet to come anywhere near before venting their hatred for ‘the other tradition’.

But the Belfast Telegraph print edition, there’s a timely editorial that notes that that for all the Morcombe and Wise performance of blissful skipping togetherness on Stormont hill (h/t Mr Feeney), there is a distinct lack of political leadership around these events. And the Bel Tel has also noted the criminal justice system should perhaps take the gloves off:

New crowd control measures are one possible advance, but even more pressing is the need for the courts to hand out deterrent sentences to convicted rioters. The process of apprehending rioters, bringing them before the courts and securing a conviction is a lengthy one in Northern Ireland, certainly compared to the speed with which courts in England dealt with last year’s serious rioting in cities like London and Manchester.

As well, the sentences handed out here seem lenient by comparison. A man who dropped a breeze block on a female police officer in Belfast seriously injuring her was given a four-year jail term. Three Nottingham petrol bombers were given jail sentences of 10, 12 and 14 years.

And what’s good for Ardoyne ought also to be good for Ballyclare. At the end of the day, the Parades Commission can only work with what it’s given. But many of these problems need political solutions and political leadership if they are ever going to get resolved.

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Lets be clear, the Parades Commission rewards the rioters, the Ardoyne Orange Lodges have followed the commissions ruling to the letter in the last few years, but have essentially had their parade baned this year.

    The Dissident Republican controled mob are rewarded for days of rioting and get what they want. A few harsher convictions either side are not going to make much difference when the clear message is given out “Crime Pays”.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    I posted this on Chris thread, can I offer my compromise for the Crumlin road impasse???

    The local Lodges and band members who are from Ardoyne, Ballysillan, Wheatfield, the Dales, Ligoniel and Oldpark, make their way to the Woodvale road and stop.

    The Orange Order members remove all regalia and roll up any banners and flags. The band roll up any flags, obviously the band uniforms and instruments specifically drums can’t be hidden. However all instruments must not be used in a disrespectful way or played, they are then are carried by the Lodge and band members as they take to the footpath.

    Making their way along the 100m of the contested part of the Crumlin road. When they are at the non-contiguous part of the Crumlin road, they can form up again for the PUL community there, and make their way home in Ardoyne, Ballysillan, Wheatfield, the Dales, Ligoniel or Oldpark.

    That way they are not marching along the contested part of the road.

    The residents can stand on one side of the road and have a protest if they wish, the Loyal Orders and band members can walk up the other side of the road in silence, and neither the twain will meet.

    The one thing that everyone is in agreement is that the contested part is a shared part of road.

    Both communities can then claim to have used the shared part of the Crumlin road and no bother

    Do the same in reverse in the morning.

  • Drumlins Rock

    AU, here is the PC conditions, which cover most of what you say,

    “On both the outward morning and return evening parades there will be no music and no drum beats played on that part of the notified route between the junction of Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road and the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road. Between these points there shall be no singing, chanting, whistling, humming or shouting.”

    “On both the outward morning and return evening parades all flags must be furled and no bannerette may be visibly displayed by any notified band on the portion of the notified route between the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade, and the junction of Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road.”

    These have been accepted by the Lodges I believe, the only problem is the impossible 4pm deadline.

  • tacapall

    Maybe Unionist politicians should take a leaf out of Sinn Fein’s ideas for controlling the masses. The people of Iveagh have been informed by representatives of Sinn Fein that bars and clubs will close at 9 o’clock, one not to open at all, young children should be indoors at 9 o’clock, social services and the PSNI will be monitoring this, any resident who allows those deemed by them, the PSNI or social services to be engaging in anti social behaviour access to their houses will be in breach of their tenancy agreements and will or could be evicted, that they had a good relationship with the village area UDA and finally the PSNI will be based at the bottom, and top of Broadway along with the various side streets of Iveagh for the next three days. This is the reward for the family who’s house has been attacked over 80 times by loyalists and the same Sinn Fein who covered up for the same UDA who’s members tossed a nail bomb into that same house. All the draconian measures above are to facilitate Loyalists having a bonfire close to an interface area. I dont hold out hope for the people of Ardoyne that Sinn Fein will be on their side.

  • tacapall

    DR

    “A few harsher convictions either side are not going to make much difference when the clear message is given out “Crime Pays”.”

    Nice one DR so have you got selective memory ? Did the whole world imagine the scenes of violence at Drumcree, Springfield Rd that included throwing bombs and shooting at police by supporters of the Orange Order and OO members being involved in the violence.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Whataboutery within 6 posts… prolly not a new record, but worth mentioning.

  • “But many of these problems need political solutions and political leadership if they are ever going to get resolved.”

    As the difficulties flow from the unresolved constitutional question it’s unlikely that there will be any meeting of minds.

  • dwatch

    News Update: FRONT PAGE TELEGRAPH:
    Jackie McDonald has been kicked out of the UDA

  • Mick Fealty

    tac,

    Have you any physical proof of that?

  • Alias

    “Jackie McDonald has been kicked out of the UDA”

    Oh dear. Let’s hope he is invited to join some other terrorist group sharpish or there goes his social life at the Aras.

  • tacapall

    Physical proof of what Mick ?

  • Mister_Joe

    Political solution?

    Mick, one of us has a poor or faulty memory. I thought that a political solution had been found by the DUP and SF a few years ago only to have it nixed by an unelected, unrepresentative organization with a penchant for marching.
    You think the pols should try again? Will the apparent veto by said organization not be used again if they don’t get what they seem to want, which is the right to march anywhere they want to at any time?

  • Reader

    Mister_Joe : I thought that a political solution had been found by the DUP and SF a few years ago only to have it nixed by an unelected, unrepresentative organization with a penchant for marching.
    Hell no. A party political stitch up between the DUP and SF is unlikely to be a lasting solution to anything. The plan was to carve up the turf, as I recall it; leaving the DUP and SF to pose as tribal champions throughout the process.
    I have no interest in the OO’s opinion on the proposals, but I never thought SF/DUP would ever fix anything.

  • Mister_Joe

    Reader,

    I was being a bit facetious. I think the proposals were unworkable.

  • Alias

    I don’t think the British government can responsibly devolve responsibility for parades to an indigenous political class that had proven itself to be incapable of managing the issue of contentious parades. The Parades Commission was established by the Secretary of State as a quasi-judicial quango to manage the issue on behalf of the troublesome natives, and it has been fairly successful thus far.

    A problem is that the OO operates an executive policy of not engaging with the PC and it is this refusal to respect the rule of law which underpins the bloody-mindedness of OO members. They need accept the judgements of the PC without reservation and to encourage all of their members to do likewise. If greater political leadership is needed then the British government should provide it by unreservedly endorsing its Commission and demanding that all others do likewise.

  • ayeYerMa

    Nevin: “As the difficulties flow from the unresolved constitutional question it’s unlikely that there will be any meeting of minds.”

    Unresolved??? Ulster is constitutionally British and polls show 90+% of people are happy with that. The end.

  • Alias

    To expand on the last point about the need by all parties to unreservedly accept the judgement of the PC:

    The PC, which pre-dates the GFA, essentially is an attempt to balance conflicting sets of collective quasi-rights, i.e. the rights of a group that wants to parade in a particular area and the rights of those who don’t want the parade in that area.

    What happens when a particular group claims that is rights have been violated is that others of that collective are drawn to support the aggrieved group, and the dispute then becomes an issue beyond the scope of the particular contentious parade. In NI, a place of tribal warfare, a matter of no real consequence becomes a matter of national importance, usually resulting in violent protest.

    In order to get around this it is imperative that both tribes endorse the PC in its attempt to balance these conflicting sets of collective quasi-rights, with both tribes accepting that these quasi-rights must be balanced according to circumstances as they exist in the real world.

    It is only when the tribes start primitive yelling about abuse of rights that the trouble arises.

  • Mister_Joe

    Spot on, Alias (I do agree with you from time to time). Various documents describe “Human Rights” but some of these rights occasionally come into conflict. Balancing them is a very difficult thing to do and the balance is usually done by trying to ensure the absence of physical conflict.

  • DC

    I don’t understand the parades commission’s logic on this one, what sort of people get appointed?

  • KFC_Gravy

    Surely the key is to get to the stage where the decision doesn’t need to be taken by the PC? If we wait for a DUP/SF to move on it, it’ll be a long wait. What work has been going on behind the scenes, if any, between GARC and the OO? This is where the possibility of a solution lies.

  • Mick Fealty

    tac, of the ‘curfew’?

  • tacapall

    No but Im sure you’ll read about it elsewhere Mick.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ArdoyneUnionist

    That sort of proposal sounds sensible to me. But the right place for it is direct talks between the marchers and the residents.

  • harpo

    “Balancing them is a very difficult thing to do and the balance is usually done by trying to ensure the absence of physical conflict.”

    MJ:

    Why didn’t the PC do this in the case of Ardoyne then?

    The decision that the PC has made may result in the PSNI being faced with violence of 2 fronts – the guaranteed violence coming from nationalist yobs PLUS the potential violence that may come from loyalists if there is a confrontation due to the stupid 4 PM deadline.

    Surely the smart thing would have been to minimize the potential for violence. There is no chance that violence will be absent – the nationalist yobs will see to that.

    Tomorrow is likely to degenerate into a total mess if the initial nationalist violence continues until around 4 PM, and the police are then faced with late-arrriving orangemen. They will be stretched at the very least.

    The PC has set up a real possibility of a 2 front conflict for the PSNI to deal with.

    Or make that 3 fronts – I was forgetting the GARC desire to have a protest when the OO passes by. Or 4 fronts of there is a counter-protest by loyalists against the GARC protest.

    Personally I’m worried that the PSNI has announced that they will ‘robustly unhold’ the PCs decision regarding the OO deadline. I don’t know if that was for nationalists to consume, but they seem to be relishing the possibility of stopping the OO paraders.

    Wouldn’t they have been smarter to say nothing of that sort? The message I take from that announcement is ‘you OO folks may have behaved for the last few years but we’re just waiting for you to step out of line’.

    Let’s hope that the PSNI uses some sense tomorrow.

  • Mister_Joe

    harpo,

    I’m sorry but you’re asking me questions that I have no answer to. And i hope that your futuring, as pete would call it, doesn’t come to pass. Nothing is inevitable. And stop the name calling; it doesn’t help your arguments.

  • harpo

    MJ:

    What name calling?

  • Mister_Joe

    Loyalists are just loyalists, nationalists are troublemakers and, by implication, all of them, not just the rioters, are “yobs”.

  • tyrone_taggart

    harpo

    “Personally I’m worried that the PSNI has announced that they will ‘robustly unhold’ the PCs decision regarding the OO deadline. I don’t know if that was for nationalists to consume, but they seem to be relishing the possibility of stopping the OO paraders.”

    The “stupid 4 PM deadline” now looks good. The OO only have 3 options:

    One:
    The bands either try and make the deadline.

    Two:
    Go later and get stopped long before the trouble area. I do not know the path the paraders will take but I am sure the PSNI have already picked the best spot to stop the bands arriving back late.

    Three:
    Try and make it back in small groups. A lot of which will also be arrested before the trouble area.

  • lamhdearg2

    tt, what one do you think will leave Garc the most upset.

  • tyrone_taggart

    But many of these problems need political solutions….

    They just need to make the organisations pay for the policing and clean up costs.

    “Policing costs could to rise for football clubs as officers needed beyond stadiums”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2127612/Policing-costs-set-rise-football-clubs-disorder-happens-away-grounds.html

  • tyrone_taggart

    lamhdearg2

    “tt, what one do you think will leave Garc the most upset.”

    I don’t know what they want? Belfast is a city I never could work out.

    Why was the OO looking for “legal aid”?

    “A north Belfast loyalist applies for legal aid to challenge a Parades”. Wilson called loyalist strikers ‘scroungers’ which the OO objected. What did you think when you heard it?

  • DC

    Can i be perfectly honest here, I don’t think mick as a poster from dorset a has genuinely credible position to take on this as he doesn’t care to live here.

    hate to be the bearer of bad news and all that, but i am just saying, hope i dont get back listed.

  • The Lodger

    “Why was the OO looking for “legal aid”? ”

    Taggart,

    The OO were not looking for legal aid. The person who applied for legal aid was not a member of the OO. Do you regard republicans who apply for legal aid as ‘scroungers’?

  • Mark

    I thought you were pissed all the time …

  • salgado

    From now on Slugger will mostly deal with Dorset based issues …

  • Reader

    tyrone_taggart: They just need to make the organisations pay for the policing and clean up costs.
    Can GARC afford their share?

  • Alias

    “Spot on, Alias (I do agree with you from time to time). Various documents describe “Human Rights” but some of these rights occasionally come into conflict. Balancing them is a very difficult thing to do and the balance is usually done by trying to ensure the absence of physical conflict.”

    I’m glad that you agree with me from time to time, Joe, as it shows that you’re not always wrong.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with human rights, however, since they are individual rights whereas what is being claimed here is a quasi-right by a collective. Freedom of assembly/association is an individual right, even though a number of individuals freely assembling/associating forms a group it is not the group which has the right. Groups such as the OO which claim such a right are simply confused, claiming quasi-rights.

    Like any other area of conflict (be it divorce, bad neighbours, or work practices, etc) it is always best for the parties to sort it out among themselves but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be state bodies such as divorce courts, arbitration panels, tribunals, et al, for when the parties are unable to resolve their differences.

    The best authority in NI to manage contentious parades is the PC, not political hacks with their own agendas.

  • tyrone_taggart

    Reader
    “Can GARC afford their share?”

    I do not know?

  • Alias, you’ve hit a very important point.

    There is no such thing as group rights, only individual rights. Individual rights can be extended (in a limited fashion) to other bodies with legal personality, such as corporations and states. By contrast, they have no application to amorphous groups such as “unionists” or “catholics”, as 1) it is not possible to strictly define the membership of such a group and 2) members of such groups cannot be held individually responsible for the actions of others in that group.

  • DC

    I see Conall McDevitt is complaining again this year about people taking a leak on his street.

  • Mister_Joe

    Alias and Andrew,

    I respectfully disagree. The “rights” are defined in the context of groups, a group being a minimum of two. If a person lived alone on a desert island there would be no question of having his or her “rights” denied. There are also specific group rights by implication, at least. For example, the right of free association and the right to assemble.