Minister faces no confidence vote
Published 18/09/2012 | 12:32
Stormont minister Nelson McCausland is facing a motion of no confidence over his stance on parades as the countdown towards a major loyalist march in Belfast continues.
The SDLP secured Sinn Fein backing for the motion which claims the Democratic Unionist failed to promote good community relations in his responses to what they said was sectarian behaviour by bandsmen outside a Catholic church.
The nationalist parties also said he had failed to condemn marchers who breached legally binding restrictions imposed by the Parades Commission at St Patrick's Church on Belfast's Donegall Street.
SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell denied the timing of the motion - which was delayed by the need to secure necessary political support - was out of step with recent Orange Order pledges to play only hymns while passing the place of worship during the Covenant parade planned for September 29.
Mr McDonnell said: "I don't know who thinks the Orange Order are trying to calm things, because they are not talking to the residents,"
He said marchers' decision to reach out to the church's clergy was no substitute for meeting nationalist residents from the area, a sentiment echoed in a statement issued by the church's parish priest.
The SDLP leader said: "We want peace and stability here and we want progress and that will entail the Orange Order speaking to residents groups.
"We're asking them quite simply to treat the residents group with respect, and that's something they don't seem to understand."
He said his motion against Mr McCausland was aimed at ensuring appropriate behaviour from the Assembly's top office holders.
"This is about ensuring we maintain high standards here. We believe that anyone, when you put them in ministerial office, they should set aside their own baggage, in the common good, in the interest of all."