Derry is an example to follow, says PSNI chief
Belfast could learn from Londonderry when it comes to resolving contentious parades, the new Chief Constable has said.
George Hamilton also welcomed the decision by the Orange Institution and unionist politicians to stage protests in non-contentious areas – but warned swift action would be taken against anyone who moved outside of the law.
Speaking in Derry, he also suggested that perhaps the way the issue of parading has been largely resolved in Derry should be considered in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
"We have discussed what is it that has worked in Derry-Londonderry over the past 15 years that doesn't seem to have been translated into other parts of Northern Ireland," he said.
"There is good practice here. It is not without its challenges and its difficulties but there is something that is going on here around facilitation, around generosity, around acknowledgment of the views of other people – even if these are not agreed with. It's about relationships being built, compromises being made so that those who need to parade can parade, the life of the city can continue to flourish, and those who need to protest can protest. If there is learning to be captured from that and applied in Belfast and other places then we all share a collective responsibility to do that."
Mr Hamilton spent the day meeting with communities and church leaders, and said he had been "heartened" by the first peaceful indications from the Orange and unionist politicians about their "graduated response" to restrictions on parades.