Returning to Rejected DUP - SF Proposals Isn't the Way Forward on Parading
Responding to Peter Robinson’s suggestion that the parading issue can be resolved by going back to the failed DUP/SF proposals Jim Allister said:
“The starting point of any legislation on parades ought to have been a statutory affirmation and protection that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is paramount, thereby giving primacy to this fundamental human right in any balancing exercise necessary in determining between competing rights, with the resulting onus on those wishing to displace the fundamental right.
“This is something which the failed proposals put forward jointly by the DUP and Sinn Fein a number of years ago manifestly failed to do.
“There were three other fundamental flaws in the legislation:
1. An all pervasive role was gifted to the Joint First Ministers, which given the mutual vetoes therein means McGuinness has been empowered with controlling authority. The Adjudicators were to be appointed directly by the Joint First Ministers, giving McGuinness his own placemen;
2. Adjudicators and other panel members could be convicted criminals, even terrorists, because only new convictions, after their appointment, ruled them out. Clearly, this was intended as a major sop to IRA/Sinn Fein. It is offensive and wrong that convicted terrorists could adjudicate on parades, but this was what the DUP/Sinn Fein legislation permitted and
3. The tiers and degree of bureaucracy were excessive.
“The Unionist community is rightly outraged as a result of recent decisions by the Parades Commission. I agree that the Commission has to go. However, the solution is not to ram through proposals which have already been rejected by the Loyal Orders as unacceptable and unworkable.”