Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Apprentice Boys in 'guarded welcome' for NI parade plan

Orange Order parade
The Orange Order has held parades for two centuries

The promise of a new system for overseeing parades in Northern Ireland has been given a "guarded welcome" by the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

Governor Jim Brownlee said a DUP member consulted with them on Tuesday evening.

"We've always believed that the secret to all this is the locality - local parades and local issues being dealt with by local people," he said.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Royal Black Institution said the parading plan was a "positive step".

It sets out a timetable for establishing a system to replace the independent Parades Commission which currently determines on contentious marches.

The parading problem came into its sharpest focus in the mid-1990s when there were a series of disputes between nationalist residents' groups and unionist cultural and religious organisations, the most well known of which is the Orange Order.

Our initial reaction is that it is a positive step forward and we are pleased that people have been focusing on the issue of parading
Orange Order statement

The agreement outlines plans for a greater focus on local accommodation on disputed parade routes where nationalist communities object to marches.

It is similar to the so-called Derry model - a locally-agreed compromise which has drastically improved relations between nationalists and loyal orders in the city.

Mr Brownlee said the Apprentice Boys had "found dialogue to be positive".

In a statement, the Orange Order said: "The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Royal Black Institution will now examine in detail the aspects of the political agreement involving public assemblies and parades.

At no stage during the past 12 years has the Orange Order in Portadown been denied the right to freedom of assembly
Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition

"Our initial reaction is that it is a positive step forward and we are pleased that people have been focusing on the issue of parading.

"Everyone must now work to find the best regulatory system surrounding public assemblies and parades and we remain committed to playing a continuing and constructive part in that."

The nationalist Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition in Portadown said it would have to study the new proposals and test them against human rights legislation.

"At no stage during the past 12 years has the Orange Order in Portadown been denied the right to freedom of assembly. At no stage during that period has any outright ban been imposed upon Orange Order parades in Portadown," the group said.

"Furthermore, and very tellingly, at no time has the Orange Order in Portadown ever sought to legally challenge the validity and lawfulness of any route restrictions imposed, as the Order is only too well aware that such restrictions are compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

"Finally, it is important that any proposed new processes are not permitted to disregard or whitewash over the past record, or the violent and sectarian, intimidatory nature of contentious marches or to disregard the very tragic costs and real human traumas which were inflicted upon minority communities like ours in Portadown as a result of those marches."



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific