Orders agree on Derry parades protocol

Published Thursday, 07 August 2014
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Loyal Orders in Londonderry have agreed to a landmark blueprint for parading in the city, which could be adopted elsewhere to help ease tensions around the marching season.

The Maiden City Accord was drafted after five months of confidential meetings and has been accepted by all Loyal Orders in the city.

The Orange Order, the Apprentice Boys, the Royal Black Preceptory and the Londonderry Bands Forum were involved.

They want parades to be seen as a positive and vibrant aspect of Protestant culture.

The Accord states that parades have to abide by principles of respect, dignity and public safety.

Derek Moore from the Londonderry Bands Forum chaired the secret talks and says it's the first time Loyal Orders have signed up to a written set of rules on parading.

He said: "The document is really a common-sense approach to processions and parades that has been going on for a long time, but the only difference is it's now down on paper."

The agreement comes ahead of the Apprentice Boys of Derry's annual celebration of the ending of the siege, which is the biggest loyal order parade in Northern Ireland.

They have encouraged Loyal Orders elsewhere to study the guidelines to see if it can adopted or adapted in their areas.

Apprentice Boys Governor Jim Brownlee commented: "The Maiden City Accord is the glue which brings all the participants together from bands people, marshals, the Loyal Orders, it's the Loyal Orders and the Bands Forum coming together locally to say this is how we expect our people to parade in public."

In recent years, tensions around parades in the city have eased greatly and last year thousands attended the flagship Twelfth demonstrations as part of the UK City of Culture programme.

Recently, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton praised the success of engagement on parades.

"If there is learning that can be captured from that and applied in Belfast or other places, then I think we all share a collective responsibility to do that," he said.

The Accord will now be sent to all Orange lodges and Apprentice Boys Clubs across Northern Ireland.

The Orange Order has said it hopes the blueprint will work successfully in the city.

"We note the written protocol is specifically tailored to parades in the city, and in this regard is not necessarily a blueprint for parades in other areas of Northern Ireland," a spokesperson said.

"However, Grand Lodge will study carefully the effects of the accord when it is fully implemented and if there are lessons for the Institution as a result, then we will take them on board."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
John-Irish in Belfast wrote (172 days ago):
Well done to Orangemen etc in Derry congratulations on what use are doing down there and keep up the good work.
doirecormac in Derry wrote (172 days ago):
Nonsense. They only talked amongst themselves. No-one asked the tens of thousands who are affected by their parades. Will it stop them openly drinking in the street? No. Will it stop them behaving in an offensive manner? No. Will it stop the full day's disruption when they march back and forth that bridge all day long? No.
Big Ian in Belfast, North Ireland wrote (173 days ago):
With 1000's of orange parades anually, this must mean the protestants can now accept the same amount of Nationalist parades in city centres and across North Ireland. After all, we are living in a shared society.
bigmac in Belfast wrote (173 days ago):
Well done to all involved seems the good folk way up north have a lot more sense than their counterparts south of Ballymena.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (173 days ago):
I think this is a very good start and I hope it is accepted in the manner in which it is meant, but there are still some things that are not recognised by Loyalists/Unionists. Jim Brownlee said, "There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Protestant culture and indeed, parading culture…” I would say there are a lot of misconceptions WITHIN Protestantism as to how their culture is viewed outside their group and that is something that must be addressed. Nationalists too must realise that Protestants/Unionists are not going away and must be accommodated.
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