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Sinn Féin – Parades resolution lies in direct dialogue

29 April, 2008

Commenting on the publication today of the Interim Report by the Strategic Review of Parades Sinn Féin Assembly member for the Portadown area John O'Dowd said that for Sinn Féin the consideration of key recommendations in the report where clearly subject to the successful conclusion of the transfer of power on policing and justice to the Assembly and Executive.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"This is an interim report. We will study the full findings in the autumn and respond to its recommendations then. What is clear is that the resolution of controversial marches will continue to operate within the current legislation and with the Parades Commission with a central role in the time ahead.

"Experience teaches us that the resolution to the issue of contentious parades lies in dialogue between host communities and the Loyal Orders. Such a process must be central to any system of resolving these issues. The right to live free from sectarian harassment, enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement must be upheld.

"The Sinn Féin perspective is that consideration of key recommendations being proposed in this interim report is predicated on the transfer of power on policing and justice. Sinn Féin does not envisage a situation where OFM/dFM would consider taking responsibility for parades in the absence of this.

"The report does contain recommendations including a legally enforceable code of conduct. We will of course want to see the terms of such legislation before passing judgement on its potential effectiveness to curb abuses and sectarian harassment.

"Sinn Féin will continue to play our part in seeking a long term resolution to the parading issue." ENDS

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