Warning from senior Orangeman on formation of Scottish parades commission

A senior Orangeman has said there are much better ways to police parades in Scotland without the creation of a “divisive” parades commission similar to NI.

By Graeme Cousins
Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:27 pm
Grand Secretary of the Orange Order Rev Mervyn Gibson
Grand Secretary of the Orange Order Rev Mervyn Gibson

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would ask the justice secretary to “consider the possible creation of a parades commission” when asked about the proposal by SNP’s James Dornan, in response to Orange marches in Glasgow during which 14 people were arrested.

Orange Order Grand Secretary Rev Mervyn Gibson said: “We think it would be a bad idea. It sustains division and here it used to reward the threat of violence.

“Parading by and large is a cultural activity of the Protestant community, thereby any body created to look at parades by extension has a bias against that community. Whereas hate crime legislation applies to all intolerance and bigotry, irrespective of race, creed or gender. We believe there’s enough laws to do with antisocial and hate crime. A parades commission only introduces another layer of unnecessary and unhelpful bureaucracy that encourages intolerance.”

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He added: “A more useful response would be for the Scottish parliament to engage with people. I believe the largest party in Scotland, the SNP, has little or no contact with the Orange Institution. They may differ constitutionally but that shouldn’t stop dialogue on other matters.

“When I say dialogue – that’s talking, not lecturing, that’s discussing, not dictating. I would urge the Scottish Executive not to dance to the tune of a small number of Roman Catholic protestors who don’t want a Protestant about the place.”

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