Mr Peter Osborne and Reverend Brian Kennaway The Parades Commission
The Sullivan Upper Politics Society, during its opening meeting on the afternoon of Friday the 8 November 2013, was pleased to welcome Mr Peter Osborne and Rev Brian Kennaway.
Over 20 students from Years 13 and 14, with the majority being AS and A-level politics students, attended this high-profile, extremely topical discussion.
Callum Jones chaired the meeting, eloquently introducing the speakers for a short presentation, before inviting Mr Osborne and Rev Kennaway to give us their opinions on the issues associated with parading in Northern Ireland.
Mr Osborne in his initial speech emphasised the low-impact approach of the Parades Commission, with very few restrictions being placed on any parades. Rev Kennaway followed, giving his view on the purpose of the Commission – to allow the parading organisations to achieve their aims without disrupting others.
Following this, both Mr Osborne and Rev Kennaway stressed the importance of communication and good intra-community relations for success; withMr Osborne going on to say that many communities now want change.
When asked about the possibility of the Commission being amalgamated with the PSNI, Mr Osborne replied by saying he didn’t believe this would happen. The police don’t wish to be both the policy makers and the enforcers of such regulations in order to give them a level of impartiality. Rev Kennaway agreed, describing such a situation as “far too toxic”.
In response to a question on the Parades Commission’s role in preventing riots the pair made it clear that they could only regulate parades submitted for approval prior to the event, highlighting the illegality of such activities.
The meeting ended at around 4:20 pm.
On behalf of all those present I would like to thank Mr Osborne and Rev Kennaway for their time and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
The Politics Society hopes to meet again on Friday the 15 November 2013 when Ross Brown, the Green Party candidate, will share his unique stance on current affairs.
Nick Hodgson Politics Society