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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 22:44 GMT
Drumcree parade mediator quits
Orangemen had withdrawn from mediation process
Orangemen had withdrawn from mediation process
The South African lawyer Brian Currin, who was attempting to broker an agreement on the Orange Order's Drumcree parade dispute, has quit.

Mr Currin said that as Portadown Orangemen had withdrawn from the mediation process he was "unable to take the process any further".

He said the Orangemen had blamed their decision to withdraw from the process on a lack of trust in the nationalist Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition, which opposes their proposed Drumcree parade route.

"In any mediation, where there is no trust there cannot be a successful process," said Mr Currin.

Brian Currin:
Brian Currin: "Lack of trust in mediation"

The route which the Orangemen want to walk on their annual July parade includes the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

The loyal order has been barred from that route by the Northern Ireland Parades Commission for three successive years.

A review of the operation of the Parades Commission has been ordered, but the outcome will not be known until next autumn - well after the 2002 summer marching season.

'Politicians must step in'

In the circumstances, Northern Ireland politicians now appeared to have the immediate responsibility of resolving the dispute, Mr Currin said in his departing statement.

He said he hoped politicians would be able to broker a solution that would address the "fears, concerns, hopes and aspirations" of both sides in the dispute and the wider community.

But David Jones, a spokesman for the Portadown Orangemen, said he felt there was little chance the parade would be allowed to go ahead along the Garvaghy Road next July.

'Discontent'

He said the Orangemen had pulled out of the mediation process because "very little had been achieved" over more than two years and "the thing was in a state of limbo".

Mr Currin said lack of trust was not the only impediment to him making progress.

The Orangemen had on a number of occasions expressed not only their discontent with the mediation process but with mediation in general.

"For the Portadown Orangemen, the dispute was about the persistent violation of what they believed was their right to walk the Queen's Highway. Time was, therefore, of the essence to them", Mr Currin said.

"However, for the Garvaghy Road residents, the dispute was about the long-term resolution of equality-based issues affecting the nationalist minority community in Portadown.

"Unfortunately, mediation is slow and laborious, and cannot enforce unilateral demands or deliver rights. That is the nature of mediation.

"It is not a quick fix process. It is a long journey fuelled by commitment, hard work, persistence and compromise."

See also:

08 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Pressure on for Drumcree solution
07 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Drumcree mediator starts work
28 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Parades review 'will be fair'
03 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Orange Order reviews strategy
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