Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK


UK

Marching with the Parades Commission

The Commission rules over marches in Northern Ireland

For years Northern Ireland's summer marching season has led to tension in some areas of the province where the Protestant and Catholic communities live side by side.

The Search for Peace
Some processions and parades spark serious disorder and violence capturing news headlines round the world.

But most of these public demonstrations take place peacefully.

A number of organisations hold marches each year to celebrate key historic dates.

These groups include the Protestant Apprentice Boys and Orange Lodges as well as Catholic groups such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

One year on

Such marches take place throughout the province. As a result, the British Government made the Parades Commission - rather than the police - responsible for deciding whether conditions should be imposed on parades.

The commission was set up in March 1997 and received its powers on 1 April 1998.

It comprises chairman Alistair Graham and six members appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Alistair Graham was appointed when the commission was first established as a non-statutory body.


[ image: Alistair Graham, Chairman of the Parades Commission]
Alistair Graham, Chairman of the Parades Commission
He is chief executive of the Leeds Training and Enterprise Council and has experience as a trade union leader.

Mr Graham's initial two-year appointment has been extended for a further year to February 2000.

Community members

All those who serve with him are representatives from the community in Northern Ireland.

They are:

  • RoseAnne McCormick - a practising barrister
  • David Hewitt - a solicitor
  • Barbara Erwin - a senior manager in the higher education sector
  • Billy Martin - a farmer
  • Frank Guckian - a businessman
  • Aidan Canavan - a solicitor.

    The Commission has been hit by resignations. Businessman Glen Barr, of Londonderry, and Tommy Cheevers, a member of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, have denied they left due to disagreements.

    Two other members, Berna McIvor, from Derry, and the Rev Roy Magee - the Presbyterian minister who helped broker the loyalist ceasefire - also resigned, again for personal reasons.

    The commission sees its role as to promote greater public understanding of issues relating to public processions and to encourage and facilitate mediation as a means of resolving disputes.

    It can rule on whether parades take place and which route they follow.

    Only the Secretary of State can overturn a ruling by the commission but its decisions can and have been challenged in the High Court.

    Tiny number of rulings

    Since 1 July 1998, plans for 4,500 parades have been submitted to the commission.

    Just over 200 of these parades were considered in detail by the commission. Approximately 120 had conditions imposed and 55 of these parades related to Portadown.

    The timetable for a commission ruling is as follows:

  • A form giving details of the parade is submitted by the organisers to the local police station 28 days before the parade is due to take place

  • The form is forwarded to the commission

  • If a ruling is made by the commission, it is generally made five working days before the parade date.

    If there is a protest against the parade, the protesters must submit a form to the police 14 days before the parade is due.

    According to the commission most parades are not considered contentious and do not have any conditions imposed.



    Advanced options | Search tips




    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


  • UK Contents

    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    England

    Relevant Stories

    09 Jul 99 | UK
    Drumcree parade banned again

    05 Jul 99 | UK Politics
    Hume issues arms warning

    05 Jul 99 | UK
    Anger over Orange march route ban

    09 Jul 99 | UK
    Decommissioning - how big a task?

    06 Jul 98 | Latest News
    Peace process under threat - Trimble

    06 Jul 98 | Latest News
    Drumcree: The key quotes

    06 Jul 98 | Latest News
    Protestant violence over Drumcree





    Internet Links


    Parades Commission

    Lower Ormeau Concerned Community

    The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland

    Garvaghy Road Resident's Coalition

    Royal Ulster Constabulary

    Portadown District Orange Lodge No.1


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




    In this section

    Next steps for peace

    Blairs' surprise over baby

    Bowled over by Lord's

    Beef row 'compromise' under fire

    Hamilton 'would sell mother'

    Industry misses new trains target

    From Sport
    Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

    From Business
    Vodafone takeover battle heats up

    IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

    Thousands celebrate Asian culture

    From Sport
    Christie could get two-year ban

    From Entertainment
    Colleagues remember Compo

    Mother pleads for baby's return

    Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

    From Health
    Nurses role set to expand

    Israeli PM's plane in accident

    More lottery cash for grassroots

    Pro-lifers plan shock launch

    Double killer gets life

    From Health
    Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

    From UK Politics
    Straw on trial over jury reform

    Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

    Ex-spy stays out in the cold

    From UK Politics
    Blair warns Livingstone

    From Health
    Smear equipment `misses cancers'

    From Entertainment
    Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

    Fake bubbly warning

    Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

    From UK Politics
    Germ warfare fiasco revealed

    Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

    Tourists shot by mistake

    A new look for News Online