LETTER TO THE CLERK OF THE COMMITTEE FROM
THE SECRETARY OF THE PARADES COMMISSION
Thank you for your letter of 10 March 2000 informing
me of the terms of reference of the inquiry into the Parades Commission
instituted by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.
The inquiry proposes to examine the operation
of the Commission, and to consider, in the light of the conclusions
of the Northern Ireland Office's review of the Commission, how
its effectiveness might be enhanced. In conducting its review,
the Northern Ireland Office requested the Commission's comments
on the following terms of reference:
"within the existing framework of law and
structures, and taking account of views received from interested
parties and the experience of the marching seasons over the last
two years, to consider
possible ways of achieving even greater
acceptance of the handling of contentious parades;
the arrangements for mediation".
I attach a memorandum from the Chairman which
outlines the background to the establishment of the Commission,
explains its procedures, and summarises its experience operating
as an independent statutory authority over the past two years.
The memorandum sets out the Commission's recommendations to the
Northern Ireland Office Review in the key areas of engagement,
mediation, and community development. The memorandum supports
these recommendations by explaining the Commission's strategy
to date and how it proposes to develop this strategy in the future.
It also identifies steps which the Commission proposes to take
in the light of the review's conclusions in relation to the Commission's
educational remit, and affirms its position on the introduction
of human rights legislation.
5 April 2000