16/07/2013 Stormont Today


Mark Carruthers presents a special edition of Stormont Today as the Assembly was recalled to discuss determinations by the Parades Commission and their impact on a shared future.

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edition of Stormont Today as the Assembly is we called for the second


time in two weeks. On the agenda, the Ardoyne Parade ruling and the


violence that followed. It is not a shared future without loyalist hands


men and women, if you cannot share a road or a street. I am not up for


holy statues appearing on bonfires, for if it is of working priest,


people well respected, being part of that, if that can be described at


all as culture. So MLAs have had to delay their


holidays for another week as the Assembly was recalled for the second


time and when MLAs written, so do we. To date members were discussing


a motion calling the Parades Commission ruling on the Ardoyne


July 12 parade illogical. That mission was tabled before the


weekend violence which prompted an amendment from Sinn came. He is


Peter Robinson proposing the main motion. There were many who catch of


words in the run-up to the 12th of July in terms of placing hope for


that occasion. -- who placed our words. We had the experience of the


previous year. On the previous year, there have been a strange, some


would say foolish, determination by the Parades Commission which


required the Orange marches that normally would have taken that route


to be there at a time that I suspect Mo Farah could not have reached on


foot from the field. Yet in spite of the determination that was made, the


Orange institution did try and resolve the difficulty that they


faced. They sent their officers by transport. They walked the route


home and they did so in a peaceful and dignified way, keeping the


Parades Commission determination. Given those circumstances one might


have assumed that if the Parades Commission were to look at the issue


of the parade itself, there could only be one outcome that they would


reach and that was that you should reward those who kept the


determination and punish those who did not. Yet what did the Parades


Commission do on this occasion? Readily be opposite. They rewarded


those who had reached the Parades Commission determination, who had


opened up on the police, and they punished those who kept the


determination on that boat had been a difficulty termination to keep. --


although it had been. I do not think anyone who takes a ceremonial sword


to be head of a police officer can find anywhere more suitable to be


done in prison. It is not a shared future without the Orange


institution. Without loyalist bans men and women. If you cannot share a


road or a street. If you have to share somebody else's ideology


before you can have it. So let's be be about the shared future must be


bombed the whole community can feel a part of, that they feel there is


some, yes, equality, in terms of the sharing. Our political correspondent


is with me. What were the key points in Peter Robinson's speech for you?


He spoke about the need for a measured debate and I would say that


by and large it was fairly measured. He made the point that the DUP


demotion was drafted some days ago and I think that is one of the


recent estimate by the motion did not include the condemnation of


violence but the First Minister made it clear it was not okayed to attack


a police officer with a sword, and condemned the violence of people


going about their business, including Nigel Dodds who was at the


scene. He also pointed up to the Orange Order to come up with ideas


for the forthcoming multiparty talks this autumn. They will be chaired by


American Richard Haass. He said that the grand Lodge have defeated


previous proposals to replace the Parades Commission so he is looking


to them to come up with an alternative. He also spoke about how


Richard Haass was the first choice to chaired these talks. He's in town


tomorrow to talk to the parties. He said it was vital everyone committed


themselves to resolving the issues, and noted Richard Haass was giving


his time for free, he did not want to be paid. He also made the point


that it is not a shared future, as you heard, if you cannot share the


road, if you cannot have loyalist bands. Peter Robinson was talking


through the main motion. Talk us through Sinn Fein's amendment.


Sinn Fein motion replaced almost all the words of the DUP motion and made


a number of points. It noted the determination of the Parades


Commission Re: the three lodges in Ardoyne. It supported efforts for a


resolution. It condemned the orchestrated attacks on the police


and community and it linked those attacks to the Orange Order's


refusal to accept the determination of the Parades Commission. It called


for respect and tolerance for all. The shared future requires mutual


respect. It also made the key point that Gerry Adams made yesterday that


the answer to this is dialogue. They called for immediate dialogue at


community level. We heard from several members. We will hear more


on that throughout the programme. It was very obvious approach in


Parliament buildings today that there was a protest taking place at


the foot of the steps. A lot of police presence around and some


protesters with likes. Who were they and what were they demonstrating


about? I saw a banner to do with flags. There was a couple of dozen


people there. Some were coming and going. They were coming in to be


said is' galleries to watch the debate. I noticed that the DQ P self


Belfast -- DUP South Belfast politician had attended. Protesters


said they did not want Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly of the cork on this


issue. Let's hear some of Gerry Kelly's contribution as he spoke in


favour of the amendment. Sustained attacks on people within the


community. I have to say that the Orange Order can't is associate


themselves from that because it was obvious that there were Orange Order


people involved. -- is associate. have to say that it was clearly


planned. People talk about whether that was or wasn't a planned but to


bring the type of crowd that was brought was really planned. There


was a notion that it was inevitable. I do not think it was inevitable.


Certainly once you put those there it was inevitable. There was a pipe


bomb attack and I absolutely condemn it. I am absolutely up for it and


agree with Peter Robinson that the Orange Order and the residents and


everybody else in our society has to be part of the future, and know what


is arguing against that. But it also calls for talks. I would argue that


it has to be based on the quality. We have to defend that as well. --


based on equality. I am not up for sectarianism or racism, no matter


where it comes from. I am not up for holy statues appearing on bonfires.


I am not up for effigies of working priests, people well respected,


being part of that, that can be described at all as culture. There


is no Republican war on the culture of British national loyalism or


anything else. I think it is believed in a wide range of people


because it is handled by people who should know better in leadership. --


peddled. It is a fact, as we stand here, that 95%, and we go back to


last December, 95% of all the regalia is in the City Hall yet we


are almost 50-50 in this city. We have to talk about not just British


and but what is Irishness? Where is the respect for Irishness? We need


to defend it better than we have defended it up until now. Sinn


Fein's Gerry Kelly. Although Mike Nesbitt was supporting the motion,


the Ulster Unionist Party death have strong criticism about some of the


11th night bonfires and we hear this comment after the STL P's North


Belfast MLA. It was a compromise effectively.


That decision was that the orange could march down the road on the


morning of the trial. But they were not permitted to mark up again. --


the Orange could mark down the road on the 12th of July. It was a good


compromise to try to resolve the situation this year and it is wrong


as politicians to undermine the Parades Commission by that sort of


overt criticism by the First Minister. The people of Ardoyne have


suffered too much over too many years. They have suffered


triumphalism. They have suffered from sectarian abuse. There is a


whole history, a whole history of the people of Ardoyne bearing the


brunt of abuse. And I believe that those people deserve some


consideration, and they deserve liberation from the tragic history


of the past. Mr Speaker, I understand that last week a


religious icon was stolen and placed on an 11th night on fire. Can I make


it clear that was not done in my name? I deplore that act. In a


moment, Mr Humphries. I deplore that act and I want to acknowledge the


clear hurt that would have been caused within the Catholic


community. I understand that there was some sort of Hallows on a


bonfire. -- gallows. That has been taken as a reference to a well liked


and popular priest who took his own life recently. That was not done in


my name, and I acknowledge the deep hurt in the Catholic community over


that. I deplore all sectarian acts including those recently by


nationalists, attacks on Orange halls which there have been


recently, but also the burning of the Irish national flag. Those


comments spot a response from the DUP's William Humphrey, which in


turn led to some of the sharpest part of the debate.


I spoke to the gentleman last night who returned the icon to Father Gary


Donegan at Holycross Chapel. The icon was thrown into the bonfire by


people in the North. It is factual. I spoke to the gentleman who


returned it and he took it to Father Gary Donegan. That is a


conversation. Order! Point of order. We do not enjoy in this house the


right to be arrogant and abusive and insulting. Nor do we enjoy...


Order! Nor do we enjoy the right to go against what was published on the


front page of the newspaper. Order! The member has got it now on the


record. Let's move on. But let us not abuse point of order. That is


exactly what I feel may be happening. Let's move on. Order! Mr


Kelly. Just to clear the situation, is to Humphries said it was thrown


on the bonfire. Could Hicks Lane how in the photographs the statue is


sitting upright in the plinth? -- could he explain? Let's get back to


the motion before us. The speaker battling to maintain


order. Father Gary Dunagan who was referred to in proceedings has


attempted to clarify how the statue came to be on the bonfire. We heard


what William Humphries said. phoned farther down again to see if


there was any truth to the possibility that Republicans or


people from elsewhere had thrown the statue on the fire. He said he


disputed what Mr Humphreys said. He said his information was that petty


criminals from the Republican side had stolen -- stolen a car and then


swap the stolen car with petty criminals from the loyalist side and


the statue was left in the back of a car. Presumably it was taken to the


bonfire by loyalists. It was stolen by republican youths who were up to


no good. He said that he was very relieved to get it back. He paid


tribute to the good Samaritan, Wallace Thompson, who returned the


statue. He said it had become the basis of his sermon last Sunday and


he was having it repaired. If they didn't find the original owner, it


would be placed in a garden. Once that row over the statue


settles, it was David Forde 's chance to speak. He made it was


David Forde 's chance to speak. You may it clear the Alliance party was


supporting the amendment because expressed support for the parades


commission. Over 90% of parades last Friday proceeded with no


determination whatsoever. The great majority of those for which way


determination were made did not require any significant policing


effort. We are talking about a tiny number of restrictions and to


suggest that is tantamount to restrictions on their culture is


utter rubbish. The example I would put to you of your beaming space, as


you personally walked across Craigavon Bridge, recorded by a


television in your lodge, the Londonderry city grand Lodge,


walking into parade within the walls of Derry, that's an example of what


a shared future actually means. It is an example of negotiation,


understanding, seeking to make accommodations and it has proven


that it can work in Derry and there is no reason why it should not work


in North and East Belfast as well. If only people were prepared to


commit themselves. There is a place in a shared future for Orange


culture. Just as there is a place for green culture and gay culture


and every other kind of culture we might want to see.


Two hours have been set aside for the debates are not everyone who


wanted to speak was able to. It's often the smaller parties to get


squeezed in such circumstances. The NI 21 leader Basil the great did get


to take part and he rose to support the amendment. When I stand up and


criticise, and I am criticising the Orange order, it is actually with


their best interests at heart. to say to them, can you not please


find a way to actually celebrate or culture, which you have an absolute


right to do, which you can demonstrate how well it was done in


Londonderry and another places? I'll have a speech which was given to me


by Drew Nelson when he spoke in Dublin. You talk about the history


of the culture and all the issues. These things are all to be


celebrated. But I have to tell you, if you are clicking the police, if


you are attacking the police, if you are using defamatory language, you


are saying the flanks protesters were right when they were wrong, if


you are doing all of those things, you are doing it for your own


selfish self-interest is not for the people of Northern Ireland. With the


two-hour debate concludes, it was time for the summing up.


Sammy Wilson did the honours for the DDP but first it was Sinn Fein 's


Karen McKellen on the amendment. I do accept and I think it has


been... The fact that the parades commission are the only show in town


because there is no resolution with the loyal borders and some of the


residents groups and until there are resolutions, then the parades


commission will prevail. Then what happens is, when the parades


commission make determinations, there is happiness on one side and


unhappiness on another. I do understand the point that has been


made because I share it. I believe it determination in relation to


north Belfast was a compromise. I spoke to some of the residents, as


did my colleague and others, and they weren't happy at all. But the


maturity and leadership which they showed in their community,


particularly around the residents group, I believe was a welcome move.


It wasn't a popular move in the community. I can testify to that. I


also want to pay tribute to the Orange marshals outside St Patrick's


Church. Thank you. They tried their very best to do a good job. I want


that on the record. I think they did and despite some challenging


circumstances. There have been a number of issues which have been


raised today. The first is the issue of the parades commission. We've had


the usual people trotted out and trotting out their defence of the


commission. I've got to say they've got a very short memories. Mr Kelly


tells us that we should accept the parades commission. I can remember


it wasn't so long ago that he was supporting residency judicially


reviewed the decisions of the commission. I've heard Mr McGuinness


criticise the parades commission. We are told by the justice minister


that it is a legally constituted body and therefore deserves


support. Can you not criticise a decision of a legally constituted


body? People criticise his department, my department, all other


departments. We of course now have NI 21. They cede the parades


commission. They see them as featuring as part of the 21st


century. Will God help us if we are stuck with it for the whole of the


21st century. Our objective is to see that the parades commission


goes. And we hope... Even though the shelflife of NI 21 might be assured,


we hope that the shelflife of the parades commission would be even


shorter and that's saying something. Now all we needed was a vote. Talk


us through that amendment. The amendment was defeated by three


votes, not surprisingly. Sinn Fein supporter dead. It also drew


Alliance and support. Notably, to Unionists crossed the floor to


support it. That's the new Unionist party, NI 21. They backed the Sinn


Fein motion which supported the decision of the parades commission


regarding Ardoyne. What about the results of the main motion itself?


It's a very tight vote indeed. The motion from the DP passed by just


one vote. Not surprisingly, it won support from the Unionist benches.


The Greens, Stephen Agnew, he abstained. It was tight enough for


the DP. Where does that leave us? It was a relatively anodyne motion. The


most contentious line in it was that the parades commission decision was


illogical. If it really had Nationalists exercised, they would


have tabled a petition of concern. It is a victory of sorts for


unionism. It would be difficult to block commission when there was a


lot of people lecturing the people last week about using NAT device to


block the motion. There was a lot more bite in all of that last week


than today. Last week was much more tempestuous but it was an unusual


debate last week. Obviously, there was an effort today to keep things


measured. When things get heated at Stormont, it does translate to the


streets. That was the assembly adjourned for the summer but the


debate still -- spilled out into the great Hall both Willie Frazer


confronting John McAllister. What I see... People are against everything


and then they say what is your alternative? You don't have an


alternative. Oh, yes, I do. Find a way of putting it forward. I can


only talk to one person at a time. It was busy in the great Hall.


do you make of that? William Fraser has a reputation not just as a


protest but also a campaigner and someone who doorsteps politicians.


Balance -- Basil McCrea does like the cameras. He is used to the


cameras. He was able to hold his own. It all ended amicably with an


agreement that they would have their debate in private, possibly even in


the great Hall at some future date. I would say that there was a lot of


interest in the great Hall in the drama and some suggestion that


William Fraser might have been arrested. He was arrested on


suspicion of breaching his bail conditions.


There was one of the major development today as the SDLP


revealed its new environment minister. It turned out to be a


wedding present for the newly married Mark Durcan. Here's the


party leader outlining why he chose him. I chose him because I came in


quite simply 18 months ago and I had a clear commitment from day one.


left Alex the first bite. I was moving and Mark Durcan is the face


of youth, the face of energy, the face of the future of the SDLP. I'm


very happy that he has agreed to become a minister. This is a


strategic decision to bolster, to move on. I have very clear


commitments about bringing in a new generation and creating space for a


new generation. This is all part of that. Alex has prepared a bit of


light reading for me. I've got quite a lot of catching up to do.


Fortunately, I will have the benefit of Alex experience. I can rely on


that. The new SDLP environment Minister, Alec -- marketed in. You


have to feel sorry for his new wife, don't you? There had been a lot of


speculation that the job would in fact go to Joe Byrne. What was


Alistair MacDonald thinking of? We did say a couple of weeks ago on the


sofa that Joe Byrne was the leader 's choice and he was indeed the


leader 's choice. But once it became in the public domain, there were


people in the party who felt they were better options. The leader has


had quite a lot of people lobbying him in recent days. Mark Durcan, I


heard his name last night. It was confirmed today. He ticks a lot of


boxers. He has youth and energy on his side. He also is from the West.


It's important strategically. I think that is what swung it. It was


probably a copper mines between those who... -- a compromise. There


is the legislation to reform the councils. That seems to be stuck in


the office of the first Minister. He has planning to deal with. He said


he wanted to pursue the same agenda that Alex Attwood had, green issues.


We had the plastic bag tax. This was one big achievement that Alex


Attwood will be remembered for because it certainly has impacted on


our lives when they go shopping. I think he is hoping for a honeymoon


period politically. He has got the summer to read in and I think


because his wife used to be the SDLP press officer, she might be rather


understanding. The good news for him is he doesn't have to make that


drive now. He will have to drive to take into Stormont and he will be


Mark Carruthers presents a special edition of Stormont Today as the Assembly was recalled for a plenary session to discuss determinations by the Parades Commission and their impact on a shared future.