[Sinn Fein]

30 January 1997

Sinn Fein comments on Parades Report

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin commenting on the North Commission report published today, has said that ``Sinn Fein will consider the report in detail and we will consult in particular with local communities affected by its recommendations.''

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``Sinn Fein gives a cautious welcome to the report. The strength of the report lies in the recommendations for local dialogue between host communities and the marchers.

``Its weakness lies in the fact that the proposed Parades Commission is effectively `toothless'. It can only recommend. The British Secretary of State and the RUC have the final say. They can overrule the Parade Commission's decision and as we all witnessed last July at Drumcree and across the north, this is a recipe for disaster.

``Drumcree was an example of the British state collapsing in the face of orange threats. It was an example of might triumphing over right and there is nothing in this report to stop that from happening again.

``We believe that this report could be the basis on which a resolution of this issue could be found provided there is a will on the side of those in government, the unionist parties and the loyal orders.

``Media reports in recent days suggest that the British government will seek to use this report to defuse public and international disquiet of its handling of the events of last summer. There is no evidence of a political will on the part of the British or the Unionist leaderships or the Orange Order to tackle this problem seriously.

``The acid test of the effectiveness of these proposals will be seen on the Garvaghy Road and the lower Ormeau Road in the coming months.''

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