'The North Report', by Neil Narman
[Key_Events] [Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
PARADES: [Menu] [Reading] [Summary] [Background] [Chronology_1] [Chronology_2] [Developments_Drumcree] [North_Review] [Articles] [Statistics] [Sources]
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change
Scope, Social Affairs Magazine, March 1997
The North report offers a wide ranging
review of the laws and practices surrounding parading. While it
makes a number of recommemdations, the three key areas that
it addresses are: the right to parade, means of dealing with disputes
and the role of the police.
The report argues that the right to
free assembly must be protected, but it also notes that this right
is not absolute and brings with it responsibilities to the wider
community. The right to protest is looked on in a similar fashion.
As a result the loyalist argument for tradition and the nationalist
argument for consent are both rejected in the search for accommodation.
This search is to be co-ordinated and
facilitated by a Parades Commission, which will principally work
to encourage local discussion and mediation to resolve disputes
but in the last instance will have the power to adjudicate and
issue a `determination'.
This effectively makes the principal
decision over whether a parade should proceed political, and based
on civil rights, rather than a public order decision taken by
the police. However, the RUC will be expected to advise the new
commission, and the Chief Constable will be able to appeal against
determinations if he is `seriously concerned'. And, on the day
he will still have the right to address public order considerations,
so the proposed system would not be a guarentee that the violent
demonstrations of last summer would not be repeated.
The recommendations in the report are
therefore not a panacea. But they do offer a considered view of
the problem and a framework for working towards solutions. The
report therefore deserves to be read in full by all those interested
in the issue. However the question is whether the people involved
in these disputes do want to reach accommodation or whether they
are happier standing on their principles of No Surrender and no
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.
Last modified :