Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Rulings are marching us into a segregated society

THE basis for the most contentious Parade Commission rulings frequently has little or nothing to do with actual parades or the behaviours of those participating.

The vast majority of these rulings reflect on the make-up of the "host community" and the effect on community relations.

These "considerations" have nothing to do with any actual parade. They are matters of contention which are external to any parade.

Take Garvaghy Road; the only reason a parade is barred on this stretch of Tarmac is because the Orange Order (and, by extension, unionists and Protestants) no longer belong in this area.

Who says so? Well, the local community leaders say so and the Parades Commission, by their rulings, validates that contention.

In other words, community leaders state that this area is nationalist, therefore "them'uns" don't belong here and the Parades Commission is then called upon to give this legal expression.

Listen to the news reports – "Through a Catholic area", "a mainly nationalist village". These are not descriptions of marchers, or parades; these are definitions of sectarian ghettoisation. If we want to continue as a segregated society, then we support the Parades Commission and their current approach. If we want something different – like a shared future – then we need fresh thinking and an alternative to "community designation".

ULTONIAN

Portadown, Co Armagh

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