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Sinn Féin comment on Parades Commission Report

25 October, 2006

Commenting after the publication today of a review carried out by the Parades Commission into its performance, Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said:

"It goes without saying that the way to resolve disputes around contentious parades is through local dialogue and local accommodation. This is the position which Sinn Féin have promoted for many years. In the event where dialogue is refused by the parade organisers the Parades Commission must issue determinations.

"However there is a growing concern amongst nationalists that the Parades Commission are increasingly seeing their role as not issuing determinations on contentious marches rather than carrying out the function for which they are put in place. We saw this last month when the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition exposed this practice in court and eventually forced the Commission into an embarrassing U-turn.

"In today's report the Commission are once again indicating that they want to expand this flawed approach further. The fact remains that the Parades Commission are in place to issue decisions on contentious parades, not to ignore them or refuse to act on the basis of worthless verbal guarantees from the Loyal Orders or other parade organisers.

"The Parades Commission need to recognise that the perception among nationalists concerned with parading issues is that this particular Commission has an in-built bias in terms of its make up and this bias continues to manifest itself via this flawed and doomed approach. It is imperative that the Parades Commission address this perception and demonstrate consistency and fairness wedded to a long term strategic approach to resolving the issue of contentious parades." ENDS

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