Sinn Féin comments on publication of Parades legislation
Commenting on the publication of the draft legislation on parading which goes out to consultation today, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd said:
“The Working Group set up after Hillsborough delivered its report to OFMdFM and that report has been drafted into legislation which will now go out for 12 week consultation.
“Central to the legislation is a legally enforceable Code of Conduct for those who parade, and the bands and supporters who take part in Parades, and any hangers on.
“Both the Code of Conduct and the Draft Parades bill include the right for communities and individuals to live free from sectarian harassment. For the first time in any legislation, the right to live free for sectarian harassment, is enshrined, and a legal definition is put forward. The Loyal Orders will be legally bound by the Code of Conduct, as will any hangers on, supporters, and their bands.
“The Draft Bill places an emphasis on Dialogue, formal and informal, between the loyal orders and objectors to the parades and those that raise concerns, and will provide a mechanism for Mediation, if required. Dialogue will be the norm and it will be encouraged, with failure to engage, taken into account in subsequent adjudications.
“The adjudication body will be representative of the community and the power to make decisions rest with the full body. We hope that the new improved framework for the issue of Parades will help resolve this difficult issue
“It is now important that all communities affected by parading issues use the opportunity presented by the consultation period.” CRÍOCH