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Why not have a referendum over endless number of parades and marches we must endure every year?

letter of the day: public rights

Published 10/05/2016

In recent times we have witnessed a referendum in Scotland on independence and the people of the United Kingdom will vote in a referendum on June 23 to decide if the UK remains in the European Union.

These votes are based on the universal idea that major decisions on topics which effect everyday life in these nations should be put before the people for society to decide how we collectively move forward.

With this in mind, I am calling on the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, to offer the people here a chance to vote on a subject that causes division, is oft-times fraught with danger, occasional violence and undermines efforts to normalise society.

I am, of course, referring to the thousands of parades and marches we must endure annually and the attendant price of policing that wastes much-needed monies, which should be spent on hospitals, education, welfare and housing.

I am asking the Secretary of State to call a referendum and allow the people to decide if parades and marching should be banned for a period of five years.

This would be reviewed and another referendum held in five years' time - should the people endorse the call for a ban.

It is an opportunity to allow society to heal, a breathing-space to allow discourse and a chance for peace and normality during the summer months to ease intercommunal tensions and help peace solidify. This ban would be for all groups across the board, without exception.

I feel that, given the right to vote on a subject that affects every single person here, that is a fundamental right to be exercised.

I feel confident the people would overwhelmingly vote for a temporary ban.

Let the people decide.

FRA HUGHES

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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