Supplementary Memorandum submitted by
the Parades Commission
The Chairman has asked me to write to the Committee
in advance of this meeting [28 February 2001] to bring
to its attention a number of errors or inaccuracies in some of
the evidence presented by other parties.
In challenging inaccuracy, the Commission does
not want to create the impression that its permanent existence
is an ideal situation. The Commission recognises that its role
is an interim one, and its efforts are aimed at pressing towards
a time when such a commission is no longer required by Northern
One way in which the Commission does this is
by setting the parameters of acceptable behaviour, pointing to
what is required for the basis of non-violent co-existence, involving
shared values and respect. Part of this depends on each side's
willingness to engage in dialogue.
The Commission should perhaps be more forceful
in pointing to its successes. The heat of the situation is often
a better index that the actual numbers of contentious parades
and the general reduction in tension around parading is noteworthy.
Examples that could be identified include Ballycastle, Crumlin
and Downpatrick. There is reduced tension in Rosslea, Newtownbutler
and Pomeroy. Londonderry has seen an engagement. While the present
Commission does not take credit for that, it part-funded the process
The Commission also recognises that this is
a part of the working out of its rights-based approach. This is
emphatically not a "public order" Commission. This comes
strongly out of the North Report, which gave birth to the Commission
and is underlined in the Commission's guidelines.
Public order is one criterion considered by
the Commission, but it must be put in context. A study carried
out by Michael Hamilton, who addressed the Committee, indicates
that in its decisions, the Commission has argued more on the basis
of community relations than on public order.
I have detailed the errors we have identified
in Appendix A. Please also find attached various appendices,
marked A1 to A9 which illustrate points made in the accompanying
text. At Appendix B, please find the Commission's response to
the Royal Ulster Constabulary review. Appendix C is a copy of
a letter forwarded by Mr Brian Currin to the Grand Orange Lodge
of Ireland. Appendix D is a copy of Lord Justice Carswell's decision
on a judicial review application in respect of a determination
by the Parades Commission in Dunloy.
On a somewhat lighter note, I might add that
the Chairman, in response to comments from Mr Saulters that he
is based in Plymouth, has calculated that he spends approximately
15 per cent of his time in Plymouth, 23 per cent in Northern Ireland
and 62 per cent in London. His salary is not £70,000 per
annum but £50,000. On taking up his appointment he resigned
from a contract which had three years to run and which was worth
approximately three times that figure on an annual basis.
27 February 2001
229 Evidence not reported. Back