With George Robinson MLA, Maurice Bradley and councillor Alan Robinson, I went along to meet the Parades Commission last week when it came to (PC) Limavady.
We were aware there would be others also meeting them who would be seeking to restrict or prevent parades in the local area.
The meeting was very forthright, it became very apparent almost immediately that a number of attitudes were prevalent among the commissioners.
While there was a definite interest in, and knowledge of, band parades in the Limavady area, there was a lack of awareness of concerns about band parades in the Dungiven area.
This is despite the commission having received in writing, concerns over a number of years about those parades.
The commission were asked that if there were any concerns about potential problems with band parades in Limavady, and the commission has observers at parades did they write back to those ‘objecting’ to inform them that their concerns about timing or size of parades were not borne out by what had occurred on the evening of the parade.
Their answer was that they did not.
This is appalling and the PC were told that.
If there are those, whether politically motivated or not, who wish to complain about problems that do not occur, the commission should inform those people what was observed by them.
One of the most surreal parts of the discussion was when the commission indicated that it should be the responsibility of the parade organisers to inform people (including objectors) of any changes, when it is the PC itself who won’t inform parade organisers of who objectors are so that they can be told!
We will await with interest the Parades Commission’s involvement in the Dungiven area where on past occasions bands at republican parades have played music outside a Protestant church and offensive and provocative ‘commemorations’ have occurred at a memorial to terror which is located beside a Protestant church in the village.
• Gregory Campbell is MP for East Londonerry. This statement was issued with George Robinson MLA, Maurice Bradley MLA and Alan Robinson