28 December 2005

Drumcree test for new commission

Belfast Telegraph

Parades body to rule on January 28 request

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
nmcadam@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
28 December 2005

NORTHERN Ireland's new Parades Commission holds its first meeting next week - to decide on the flashpoint Sunday Drumcree parade.

The outgoing commission meets for the last time tomorrow, having already made determinations on Portadown district's weekly application to parade for each Sunday until January 21.

Then the new commission, including former Portadown Orange district master David Burrows, will next week make a decision in relation to Sunday, January 28.

Mr Burrows, who is also joined on the new commission by fellow Orangeman Donald Mackay, who is a member of the DUP, was not immediately available for comment today.

But Portadown lodge spokesman David Jones said: "I have received determinations from the commission for every Sunday in January up until the 21st and there is no change.

"It's really a question of wait and see now. The new commission is still operating under the same legislation.

"Yes, there are new personnel involved but we are just watching and waiting to see if there will be a change and the key date should be January 28."

A commission spokesman today confirmed the new members are due to hold their first meeting next Thursday and the outgoing commission its final session this week.

"They can make decisions up to 28 days ahead but are unlikely to go beyond the 21st," the spokesman added.

Outgoing commission chairman Sir Anthony Holland said he has already met Mr Burrows, who resigned as district master earlier this year for personal reasons, as part of what he called "unofficial contacts with the Orange".

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