Memorandum submitted by Archbishop Robin
Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland
1. While I regret the necessity for a Commission
on parades in Northern Ireland I appreciate the complexities which
face them in their task.
2. Given that local agreement between conflicting
issues is the ideal for a just outcome of any parade dispute it
is vital that every opportunity is taken to encourage local accommodation
prior to a determination.
3. It is important to distinguish between
mediation and the expression of what would be acceptable to the
Commission prior to any determination.
4. I have reservations about a process of
mediation being undertaken by the body which will ultimately make
5. There is value in the Commission indicating
clearly what it expects of the parties for a favourable determination
but if mediation between them is to be the responsibility of the
Commission I believe confusion will result.
6. I suggest that if mediation is to be
involved in any process prior to a determination that it is clearly
understood what body or who should be responsible in that regard.
7. It is equally important that the mediation
party should be recognised officially by the Commission, clearly
identified and accepted by the parties and maintains contact with
the Commission during the process.
8. I recognise the difficulties which can
and do arise if:
Parties are confronted by several
agencies of mediation
Uncertainty prevails as to the primacy
of the mediation offers
Mediation is unclear as to what would
or would not be acceptable to the Commission
Either party perceives unfair treatment
by the Commission in a role of mediation.
9. The present form of determination by
the Commission states the reason for a decision in terms of failure
to engage, risk of violence, etc. I feel that if this format is
to continue more evidence should be produced of appreciation for
any efforts by the parties to reach agreement rather than a simple
statement of the insufficiency of effort etc.
10. I believe the ideal would be the appointment
and recognition of an agent or agency of mediation, a clear statement
of what is required for a favourable determination and a stated
period during which discussion should take place.
11. Refusal to engage in face to face discussion
by a party should not be the only reason for a negative determination.
While such encounter is desirable cognisance should be taken of
"genuine questions of principle". Movement is sometimes
possible through the use of intermediators, etc.