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by Louise Wilson
23 September 2021
Scotland to consider Parades Commission

Garry Cornes / Alamy Stock Photo

Scotland to consider Parades Commission

The Scottish Government is considering the introduction of a Parades Commission which would regulate the number and routes of any contentious or offensive parades.

A similar body was formed in Northern Ireland in 1998. It imposes restrictions on parades, including the option to prohibit some from taking place.

SNP MSP James Dornan made the call for such a commission to be set up in Scotland to provide a “non-partisan, independent look at the number and routes” of parades.

The call follows a series of Orange walks taking place last weekend in Glasgow – rescheduled from 12 July marches due to Covid rules – which resulted in 14 people being arrested for alleged disorder.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Dornan said: “Recently we’ve heard shameful reports that Glasgow City Council is receiving death threats when any possible restriction of Orange parades were discussed, and I’m in no doubt that, just as in Northern Ireland, a Parades Commission would go a long way towards taking some of the heat out of discussion.”

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the government would give the proposal further consideration and report back to parliament “in due course”.

She said: “I have asked the justice secretary to consider what further action could be taken to maintain the important balance of rights between peaceful procession, freedom of speech but also the ability of people to go about their daily lives without feeling unsafe and being free from harassment.

“I’ll ask the justice secretary to consider the possible creation of a Parades Commission as part of that.”

Regarding the sectarian singing and public disordered witnessed at the weekend, Sturgeon added: “There is no place for it in a modern Scotland and we must all show zero-tolerance towards it.”

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