Archive for August, 2010

Council in bid to ban parades in centre of Glasgow

Parades will effectively be banned from Glasgow city centre and the policing costs of all demonstrations publicised under groundbreaking new proposals unveiled today.

Other radical plans aimed at reducing the 500 marches a year within the citys boundaries include encouraging organisers to consider alternatives to processions and insisting on events with 1000 or more participants assembling at and progressing to a public park.

All participants, from the Protestant Orange orders to Irish republican groups and trade unions, will have to march four abreast to allow quicker progress and reduce time and disruption to the public.

“Return” processions, where groups march back to where they started from, could be axed to minimise disruption, while small parades which feed into a main procession could be curbed as Glasgow City Council moves to develop standard routes,

It is also proposed that no-one taking part in a parade shall be allowed to carry ceremonial swords or weapons of any description without permission from the police or city council.

The plans, which go out to consultation for the next four weeks, will form the core of the citys policy on parades and processions, which the council wants in place by November.

Strathclyde Police will issue its own report on the rising number of parades within the force area and the associated spiralling costs in the coming weeks.

Parades and processions cost the force around �1.8 million annually, with the policing bill for an individual march ranging from �500 to around �600,000 for the large Orange Order parade in early July.

Strathclyde is facing a financial crisis, with 400 frontline officers being axed in the next 18 months due to cost pressures.

Over the last year, the council has held discussions with a range of parties aimed at pulling together Scotlands first definitive local government policy on parades, sitting within the framework of existing Scottish and European legislation.

Although parades cannot be banned on cost grounds, the city council intends to examine the impact of “the displacement effect” when officers are diverted from other duties to staff a procession when deciding if an event gets the go-ahead. It will also consider if “the containment of risks” places an excessive burden on the police.

The council writes off around �100,000 from the cost to itself from processions but said it plans to pass on “every last penny”. The proposals argue for a presumption against parading through the city centre and claim that “at this critical time for the economy any potential disruption to the city centre is a major factor which must be taken into account”.

Last year, more than 70 parades went through the city centre. A policy of ending all return parades, which usually occur in the evening when many followers are intoxicated by alcohol, would cut by 25% the total number of parades.

Under current legislation the organisers of processions cannot be required to meet the costs of policing but the estimated bill to the police and the number of police hours will be published by the city council “to improve the transparency of the process”.

Organisations, from major bus firms through to the Boys Brigade and the obvious targets of the policy the Grand Orange Lodge, Apprentice Boys, Grand Black Chapter and Cairde na hEireann have until September 28 to respond.

Councillor Jim Coleman, who is spearheading the policy, said: “Were looking for considered, pragmatic feedback. It is in the interests of the marching organisations that we make progress, because the current position has become untenable.

“What we have done is try to reach a balance where we protect peoples democratic right to demonstrate; but without overwhelming the rights of the wider community.”

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “While we remain happy to sit down and discuss our parades in a spirit of co-operation, we are aware of our rights and will not see those rights curtailed in order to satisfy the political will or prejudice of a handful of city councillors.”

Marching: The numbers and the costs

* Across 2009-10 there were 497 parades within Glasgow 124 of which were “return” parades 252 by the Orange Order, 43 by The Apprentice Boys, 42 by the Black Institute, 27 from Irish Republican groups, 15 from bands and 116 from other organisations. Of these, 72 went through the city centre.

* Across 2008-09 there were 340 parades, excluding the main July Orange march in Glasgow, requiring a police presence, which accounted for 19,000 police hours and a cost of �1.2 million. The July Orange parade alone cost �596,000.

* Small parades, such as Orange Order church processions, cost around �500 to police. The 2009 May Day parade cost �20,000, a Cairde na hEireann parade the following month cost �34,000, while nine separate Loyalist and Republican processions on May 16 cost �14,500.

* From April to August last year, there were 163 parades in just two police divisions, A and B, accounting for 12,000 man hours and at a cost of more than �400,000.

* Since former Strathclyde Chief Constable Sir John Orr attempted to get to grips with parades, the number within the force area has gone up. Glasgow hosts more Loyalist and Republican parades than the Belfast and City of Derry council areas combined.

* In autumn 2009, Glasgow Household Survey, around two-thirds of residents said they would support a reduction in the number of Orange processions and Republican parades in their local area 67% and the city centre 66%. Half said they would back an outright ban on parades in the city centre, with only 17% opposing such a ban.

Published date on the 31th of August 2010
Article taken from the Herald Scotland

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Petition for fresh meeting on parades legislation

A GROUP within the Grand Orange Lodge is circulating a petition to call for a fresh meeting to approve new parading proposals.

Last month a meeting of the Orange Orders ruling council rejected new proposals to deal with contentious parades by 37 votes to 32.

Those lobbying for another meeting are criticising what they are describing as low attendance, and have said the decision is “unrepresentative”.

Around 69 members attended out of a possible 300.

Under the rules of the Order, at least 50 signatures are required for a special meeting to be called.

However Ulster Unionist leadership contender and Grand Lodge delegate Tom Elliott is not supporting the petition and told the News Letter last night that he has “rarely” been at a meeting where there is “anything close to full attendance”.

It was believed at the time that the leadership of the Order was disappointed at the outcome of the vote.

The Orders rejection of the proposals came after the first minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness unveiled plans for a new system to replace the current Parades Commission in April.

The parades blueprint, including a new focus on encouraging dialogue, were drawn-up under the terms of the Hillsborough Castle Agreement brokered to stabilise the power-sharing government at Stormont.

Under the proposals, the existing Parades Commission would be replaced by two groups, one to administer parade applications or objections and to facilitate talks, while a second adjudicating body will make rulings where agreement cannot be found.

The Parades Commission has made a number of controversial decisions in recent months including re-routing an annual band parade in Rasharkin for the first time in its history as well as disallowing a Black Preceptory parade to pass the Short Strand area in east Belfast.

A member of Grand Lodge in support of recalling the meeting told the News Letter last night that he believes there is an element of anti-DUP in the vote.

“I think many Orangemen would welcome the decision being overturned,” he said.

“The recent controversial decisions taken by the Parades Commission will certainly help people to see the need for an alternative.

“I think there are people there with genuine concerns, but there is an element of party politics, it was more anti-DUP, not anti legislation.”

But Mr Elliott hit back: “The meeting in July was a fairly average turn out, I have never been at a Grand Lodge meeting that has been 100 per cent.

“I dont see what the huge complaint is if that was a decision of the meeting.

“Does this now mean that every time a decision is taken that people dont agree with, another meeting will be called to try and change it?”

After the July meeting, Grand Lodge put out a statement saying it plans to meet in the near future to discuss the issue of parading again as well as the code of conduct which is out for consultation until September.

A special meeting would have to take place before this meeting in September.

Published date on the 30th of August 2010
Article taken from the News Letter

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8/30 Twitter / Kilsally

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The Reformation in Scotland

To mark the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation the National Library of Scotland is holding a 2 month exhibition of some rare texts and manuscripts during September and October. Details available here. At the same time, BBC Radio Scotland are broadcasting a new series entitled Scotland at Prayer, beginning on Monday 6 September at 11.30am. Heres the press release I was sent last week –

“…In 2010 Scotland marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation, an event which left an indelible legacy in Scottish society. Billy Kay tells the story of the Reformation through this new seven-part series, Scotland at Prayer, detailing its effects on Scottish culture and exploring the history of the major religious identities which emerged out of it – Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic.

In this first programme Scotland at Prayer, examines the period of the Reformation itself, and the visionary nature of some of the innovations introduced by Knox and Melville. It also counters some of the myths, and discovers for example that John Knox was a claret drinking ladies man who was regarded as one of the countrys first linguistic anglicisers.

Later in the series Scotland at Prayer, will explore the emergence of Evangelicalism in the Highlands in the Free Church and Free Presbyterian Church, and the survival of the tradition in Lewis. The story of other churches with a long pedigree in the country will be told – the Quakers, the Methodists, the Baptists and the Brethren – recalling the great religious revivals which swept through Scotland and the cultural forces which led to the spread of Brethren and Baptist churches in places like Ayrshire mining villages and fishing communities on the Moray coast.

Scotland at Prayer, celebrates the history of the churches, the faith of the people who belong to them, the local and national identity of their adherents, their influence on politics and culture, the effects of immigration, and the tension between the values of the past and the society of the present. For a majority of Scots, knowledge of other churches can be scant and based on stereotypes. This series will reveal the deep historic roots of all of the major Christian denominations in Scotland and explore their relevance to the future of the country…”

Itll be interesting to hear how the subject matter is handled. Part of me suspects that the Reformers as usual will be portrayed as iconoclastic vandals and dour-minded killjoys. I also suspect that Ulster will be a footnote, if were even mentioned at all. Lets hope Im wrong.

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Sir Knight Rev William Anderson – RBP Loughgall 2010 Last Saturday Christian demonstration by the Royal Black Institution at the rural village of Loughgall in Northern Ireland 2010.
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Imperial Grand Treasurer – Resolutions 2010 Last Saturday Christian demonstration by the Royal Black Institution at the rural village of Loughgall in Northern Ireland 2010. Distributed by Tubemogul.
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