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July 17, 2005

Sinn Fein Week In Review

Sinn Fein
The Week in Review
9 to 15 July 2005

Calls for calm in advance of contentious Orange parades

On 11 July Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams appealed for
calm in advance of a contentious Orange parades on the
Springfield Road and in Ardoyne the following day. Mr Adams
said the Parades Commission had created `an extremely
dangerous situation' in Ardoyne by rewarding the Orange
Order for refusing to engage in dialogue with local
residents and allowing the parade through an area `where
the sole purpose is to cause offence'. He said Sinn Fein
had been working to ensure that the situation in Ardoyne
did not `spiral out of control' and appealed `to young
people in particular not to be provoked tomorrow.'

NORTH BELFAST Speaking the same day, Sinn Féin north
Belfast Assembly member, Gerry Kelly, said weekend attacks
by loyalists on a Catholic home on the Crumlin Road,
followed by a series of shootings, which left one man dead
and another critically injured, had `heightened
significantly tensions in the area' in advance of the
parades. Mr Kelly said, in particular in the light of the
attacks, it was `untenable for the Parades Commission to
force this parade and its supporters through Ardoyne,
Mountainview and the Dales on tomorrow.'

BALLYMENA On 11 July Sinn Féin's North Antrim assembly
representative, Philip McGuigan, and Ballymena councillor
Monica Digney condemned the daubing of sectarian graffiti
on Harryville chapel late the previous night. Mr McGuigan
said this was the latest example of `an ongoing campaign
against this chapel and the community that uses it'. He
said loyalists were `demonstrating that Catholics are
unwelcome to attend their own church in that part
Ballymena' and was designed to `ensure the Catholics are
expected to live as second class citizens in their own
town'. He criticised the DUP controlled Ballymena council
for their `backdrop of silence', against which `this
sectarianism has been allowed to continue'.

DUNLOY A tense situation developed in the nationalist
village of Dunloy in County Antrim, when riot-clad PSNI
personnel attempted to force an Orange march through part
of the village, contrary to a determination issued by the
Parades Commission. Sinn Fein's Philip McGuigan said the
people of Dunloy were prepared to accept and abide by the
Parades Commission determination which permitted the Orange
Order to march on a stretch of roadway adjacent to the
Orange Hall, but added that the `dozens of riot-clad PSNI
officers attempted to collude with the Orange Order in
breaching that legal determination, by trying to force the
parade along a route which the Commission had barred them
from marching.' He said there was `a stand-off situation in
the village' and that many residents were `outraged and
angry' by what has happened that morning. The Orange Order
were, he said, `threatening to blockade the village' and
`the PSNI are refusing to make the marchers disperse, and a
very tense and volatile situation is developing here.'

LURGAN Sinn Féin MLA John O Dowd, on 12 July, called on the
Police Ombudsmans office to send observers to Lurgan to
monitor the PSNIs handling of Loyal order parades after the
Orange Order were allowed to march through a contentious
area of Lurgan that morning, `in complete defiance of a
Parades Commission determination, without any interference
form the PSNI'. Mr O Dowd said the commission's
determination `had clearly stated that the Orange Order was
not allowed to enter William St during this morning's
parade'. However he added, `as the parade came to an end,
around a dozen Orange Order leading officers, including
local MP David Simpson and several other unionist
politicians, broke away from the parade and proceeded along
the entire length of William St, in full Orange regalia'.
The PSNI failed to prevent this breach of the
determination, and intsead `gave the illegal parade an
escort to the railway station, at the bottom of William
St'. He said `the dozen or so marchers then removed their
Orange regalia and walked back up William St to re-join the
main parade. This willingness of the PSNI to facilitate
this illegal demonstration in Lurgan is similar to the
stance adopted by the PSNI in relation to another illegal
Orange demonstration in Dunloy, also this morning.'

NORTH BELFAST On 12 July Sinn Fein cllr Caral Ní Chuilín
said the PSNI were facilitating Orange Order 'supporters'
in the Carrickhill area who were raising tensions in the
area. Cllr Ni Chuilín said a large number of Orange Order
supporters were congregating in the Carrickhill area, were
`drinking heavily and are clearly intent on trying to
escalate tension in the area'. He said Sinn Féin were
`trying to manage tensions, particularly with tonight's
return parade still to come but this sort of drunken
inflammatory behaviour is very unwelcome.'

ARDOYNE on 14 July Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly further
criticised the PSNI after it was revealed that 22 plastic
bullets had been fired in Ardoyne on Tuesday night. He also
criticised SDLP representative Alex Attwood for praising
the PSNI action. Mr Kelly said plastic bullets were
`unacceptable and must be banned' and that `the firing of
these lethal devices could have been nothing other than
indiscriminate'.
----

Sinn Fein review aftermath of Orange Parade decision

On 13 July Gerry Kelly was joined by party colleagues Alex
Maskey, Cathy Stanton and Carol ni Cuilan to review the
aftermath of the Parades Commission decision to force the
Orange Parade through three nationalist areas of North
Belfast. Mr Kelly said: `Sinn Féin, local residents, local
community activists and clergymen worked for weeks trying
to ensure that this very difficult situation did not end up
in violent conflict on the streets. The situation was
created by the demands of the Orange Order to march along
this route and the Parades Commission acceding to that
demand. Both the morning and the evening protests were
peaceful and this we hoped would set the tone for the
return leg.' He added `On the return leg there was some
minor stone throwing and insults exchanged between some
young people and the marchers. This was manageable. However
the PSNI immediately intervened with a baton charge and
water cannon. This action disempowered the local residents
stewards and for a time control was lost. This is not what
we wanted to see happen, nor was it what the residents of
that area wanted to see happen'.

He went on to say that `the fundamental problem is being
sustained. That is unionist and loyalist demands to
dominate nationalist neighbourhoods by forcing unwanted
sectarian anti-catholic parades through them. The hit and
run decisions of the Parades Commission is part of the
problem. Bad decisions which others are left to manage. The
consistent rewarding of the Orange Order in North Belfast
for refusing to enter into a process of dialogue which
seeks to resolve this issue is untenable. It is
unacceptable. It is a recipe for ongoing tension,
disharmony and conflict. "The most remarkable aspect of
last nights events in North Belfast is that lives were not
lost. This society cannot afford to continue with this
situation. The Orange Order need to begin to show some
respect for nationalist residents. They need to engage in
genuine and meaningful dialogue to resolve the issue of
contentious marches in North Belfast and indeed elsewhere.'
----

Call to transform criminal justice

On 11 July Sinn Fein policing and justice spokesperson,
Gerry Kelly, said fundamental change was still required to
implement the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Kelly was speaking
after a recent meeting with Lord Clyde, Oversight
Commissioner for Criminal Justice, on the release of his
latest report. Mr Kelly said `thorough oversight and
scrutiny of the justice system is critical to measuring and
verifying transformation. This latest report by Lord Clyde
provides a useful contribution towards that work.
Unfortunately, the findings of this report together with
the facts on the ground and other recent developments in
criminal justice show that the Good Friday Agreement has
still not penetrated the hardcore of the system in the six
counties.' He added `Sinn Fein raised a number of concerns
about the pace and scale of change in the justice system
with Lord Clyde. Among the areas of greatest concern were:
the political vetting of Community Restorative Justice
programmes; interference in the conduct and the overhaul of
the inquest system; the ongoing pattern of political
prosecutions associated with a section of the justice
system; the failure by the Director of Public Prosecutions
to give reasons for not prosecuting in certain cases; the
use of Special Advocates and interference with disclosure
of information to defence solicitors; and the failure to
speedily operationalise a system for equity monitoring of
prosecutions, convictions and sentencing.' He concluded
`Sinn Fein reiterated the need for the speedy transfer of
powers on policing and justice and raised concerns about
any attempt by British securocrats to impair this process.
Repressive emergency legislation and the continuing use of
non-jury Diplock courts must be done away with for real
transformation to be achieved. Our party remains focussed
on creating that new dispensation.'

Week in Review is circulated by Sinn Fein MPs. Telephone
020 7219 8162. Email fisherj@parliament.uk or visit
http://www.sinnfein.ie
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