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Sinn Féin comment on new Parades Review Body

18 April, 2007

Commenting on the announcement of the make-up of the Strategic Review of Parades Body, Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey said that he had reservations about the appointment of Paddy Ashdown as
Chairperson given his military and political involvement in Ireland in the past but that Sinn Féin would engage with any group who were prepared to press forward on the basis of local dialogue and accommodation to resolve
contentious parades.

Mr Maskey said:

"It must be pointed out that this is a review group which will report sometime next year on the overall parading issue, it will have no impact on decisions taken by the Parades Commission this summer.

"Sinn Féin would clearly have reservations about the ability of Paddy Ashdown to act as an impartial and independent chairperson of such a group given his military and political involvement in Ireland in the past. However

many of the local appointees to the group do have a grasp and an experience of the difficult issue of contentious parades.

"The key to resolving contentious parades is through local dialogue between marching orders and the communities they wish to march through. That is the lesson of the past ten years or more. Sinn Féín will engage with any group including this one in a bid to ensure that future parading issues are resolved on this basis.

"This is a difficult issue which in the past has resulted in significant community conflict and unrest. It is also an issue which needs resolved. That means groups including the Loyal Orders reflecting upon new political realities and seriously considering the motivation behind seeking to march through communities where they are clearly not wanted." ENDS

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