Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Mediation Network for Northern Ireland
Re. Reply to Mr Roy Beggs: [Q 383] Do
all parades disputes have essentially the same characteristics?
Is so, what are they?
Obviously, there are various types of parades,
Church paradesparades featuring
a church service.
as the twelfth day.
Aside from differences in type, it is possible
to observe a number of salient characteristics, namely:
Personalan individual involved in a parade
dispute is motivated by personal beliefs or values.
Inter-personalthe relationships which
exist between individuals on opposing sides are hugely significant,
especially if the opponent is viewed as hostile.
Organizationalthe need to maintain the
confidence, support and cohesion of one's group (eg, an Orange
lodge or a residents' group) affects the behaviour of those engaged
in a dispute.
Communalthe history, atmosphere and stability
of the locality within which a dispute is ongoing is a factor.
Societalthe impact of disputants' behaviour
on wider society.
Protagonists will rationalise and strategise
with the above considerations in mind. In many situations, wider,
societal factors inhibit movement around more locally based factors.
In other words, agreement would be feasible but remains inhibited
by considerations about wider society.
All of the above characteristics relate to the
issue of integritythe values and beliefs of individuals
and organizations. For instance, Orangemen find it difficult to
engage with opponents because engagement would infer recognition
of the opponents' legitimacy and conferring such legitimacy would
be an affront to the Orange sense of integrity.
Similarly, an opposing resident's sense of integrity
may leave them feeling unable to acquiesce to a parade since this
might perpetuate a position of inferiority.
Apart from integrity, there are emotional factors
at work as well. The temperature of the community, or, indeed,
of wider society, goes up and down, in turn affecting people's
state of mind. A nasty exchange with opponents; adverse press
coverage or rough handling by police can increase the emotional
heat of a parade dispute.
16 February 2001