Republican News · Thursday 11 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

British admit Orange parades are sectarian


As tension heightens ahead of July, the British government has finally admitted that Orange Order parades are a sectarian, and not a ``cultural'' issue.

In sworn evidence to the High Court in Belfast, representatives of the British government admitted that ``marching is a sectarian issue''. This unprecedented admission came as the court dismissed an application for a judicial review into the make-up of the Parades Commission.

A barrister acting for Evelyn White, who has lived on the Garvaghy Road for 28 years, accused the British government of gender and political discrimination when it appointed a Commission totally unrepresentative of the Northern population.

Of seven members, only one is nationalist and none are women. Through it's ruling, the High Court has defended the British government's opinion that there is not one woman in the North who is suitable and has the necessary skills. According to a British government statement, no ``suitable'' woman had applied for the post.

A spokesperson for the Garvaghy Road residents said that ``the decision, while not surprising, should alert those organisations and political parties engaged in promoting the equality agenda that much work still remains to be done. A cursory glance at the make-up of the Parades Commission will show that there are imbalances and inequalities which have been created, and that there seems to be no method of redressing those, at least not through the courts.''

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