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Parades Commission does GRRC's dirty work

I am writing to respond to the comments from a member of the Parades Commission regarding Drumcree/Garvaghy Road. Your report (News, June 6) carried comments from one commissioner, saying that forcing both sides to sit down and talk was "beyond our remit".

That sums up the commission's failure in Portadown. Portadown District has given a public commitment to face-to-face dialogue without precondition. Yet the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) refuses to enter into dialogue, or discussion, at all.

Portadown District has met with the Parades Commission, with both the Secretary of State and Minister of State and has given a repeated public commitment to enter into direct discussions with the GRRC. It's the GRRC that refuses to talk. And the commission's response? On a weekly basis, to reward the GRRC's intransigence by issuing the determination it seeks.

There is no incentive for the GRRC to enter into dialogue while it can rely upon the commission to do its work for it.

One function of the commission is 'to promote and facilitate mediation as a means of resolving disputes concerning public processions'. In Portadown, it has failed.

If the commission is truly committed to dialogue, why continue to reward the GRRC's intransigence? That is a question which I, as the local MP, won't permit to go away.

DAVID SIMPSON MP

Upper Bann

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