[Sinn Fein]

24 February 1996

British running away from issue of parades

Sinn Fein negotiator and Westminster candidate for North Belfast Gerry Kelly, commenting on today's announcement concerning parades, accused the British government of running away from the issue.

Mr. Kelly said:

``As with previous reports commissioned by the British government, the North Report was set up as nothing more than a means of deflecting world opinion from the failures of the Major government to address the issues at the core of the marches problem. Now that this cosmetic exercise has been completed, the British government, as with the Mitchell Report, has dumped it in the bin.

``They have now decided to take a minimalist approach by taking some of the softest options - options which will be sure not to upset David Trimble and his Orange Brethren but will give the RUC extra powers.

``Giving the RUC more powers, even only to confiscate alcohol being consumed in the vicinity of a parade, will serve only to exacerbate the situation rather than address the causes of the problem.

``As for the requirement to lodge intention to parade 21 days prior to the march, it seems this is an `attempt to curtain spontaneous protest marches which mainly emanate from the victim communities rather than address the issue of triumphalist Loyal Order marches encroaching on nationalist communities.

``Tinkering with the problem in an attempt to create the illusion that something is being done will do nothing to ensure that the residents in areas affected by triumphalist parades do not have to endure sieges and curfews once again this year.

``The only acceptable solution to the issue is to be found in negotiations between those wishing to march and those resident in the vicinity on which that march will encroach.''

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