Parading: Two-line executive statement leaves much unsaid

Peter Robinson First Minister Peter Robinson said the ministers' discussion of parading had been calm and measured

Politicians like nothing more than to confound pundits.

So, I detected a sense of satisfaction on the part of First Minister Peter Robinson as he told reporters that, far from being a shouting match like the executive's heated meeting in May, the ministers' discussion of Ardoyne and other recent parades decisions had been calm and measured.

That said, we are still in the dark over the promised unionist "graduated response" to the Parades Commission determination in north Belfast.

Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd said his understanding is that unionist ministers intend to continue to participate in future executive meetings, but Mr Robinson would not give any such guarantee.

The parties agreed a two-line statement agreeing that all parades and parade-related protests should be lawful and acknowledging the efforts made by many to ensure the summer is peaceful.

The terse nature of the latest statement contrasts with the comprehensive five paragraph communique they published at this stage last year.

It is also much shorter than a draft the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, circulated amongst ministers late last month.

As a hack, I'm in favour of brevity.

In this case, though, it doesn't appear to be "the soul of wit", more an indication of the difficulty our ministers have in agreeing anything more substantial when it comes to parades.

Mark Devenport Article written by Mark Devenport Mark Devenport Political editor, Northern Ireland

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  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Well we have our graduated response...I'm not sure what more this pan Unionist front can do to make our institutions more dysfunctional than they are. Local Government is an expensive irrelevance in most people's lives and Europe? Two MEPs shouting in the wilderness. The real test of this is if the UK Government back down to threats. This is an all or nothing gamble. Let's see who blinks first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Ground hog, day, year, century.....marching up to the top of the hill, but who will march them down again ? Working class protestants and catholics in jail after summer. Politicians will be sunning themselves and returning to their £100,000 year jobs all smiles. Forget social issues, housing, unemployment, jobs.......Im 46 and honestly have had enough of the lot of them. I despair

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    NI politicians are nothing more than pot-stirrers. It is how they are able to hold onto their jobs.

    Nothing will ever change in NI until people, especially youngsters, are encouraged to fully understand each other. The politicians are making things so much worse, but people are frightened to vote for anyone different.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Here we are again one side blaming the other, no change there.....

    On another subject there is an interesting article about a report on property prices in NI. Its author PWC states that there will be a slow burn with regards to their recovery. However I distinctly remember sitting through a presentation by the aforesaid who then had a view that NI would not be effected by the crash. Discuss...



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