Alliance responds to parades review

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry MLA, has responded to the release of the interim report on the Strategic Review of Parading, indicating support for a change in approach but expressing concern at the heavy emphasis on the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated:

“Alliance maintains that there is little to fear and potentially much to gain from a radical review of the policy and structures for handling dispute parades. There needs to be a full public debate on its analysis and recommendations, and the emergence of a cross-community consensus.

“The hoped for ‘global solution’ to parades however remains dependent upon progress on such issues such as the devolution of policing and justice, the bill of rights, and the delivery of a shared future. Sadly, there remains much foot-dragging on those issues. We are also disappointed that this review has not extended to dealing with the display of flags and emblems. This problem is clearly related to parading.

“Alliance has no particular hang-ups over the potential replacement of the Parades Commission. There can be no sacred cows in this process. We do note the new role for District Councils in an administrative capacity. We have much greater concerns over the central role of OFMDFM with the mediation and adjudication procedures. A rather optimistic view of the ability of that office to deliver has been taken which is at odds with recent events.

“That said, there are aspects of the report which are very encouraging. In particular, the strong emphasis on a rights-based approach to resolve disputes is welcome. The process whereby a communal identity was given to territory was deeply flawed.”


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