Memorandum submitted by the Presbyterian
Church in Ireland
Thank you for your letter to last year's Moderator
Dr. Lockington of 13 October and 29 November. Unfortunately your
letters reached me after the stated meetings of the Church and
Government Committee, including your last one which, due to a
Royal Mail strike in Belfast, came to me a few hours after yesterday's
meeting finished. Nevertheless we discussed your letter of 13
October, even though we believed we had missed your second deadline
of 15 November.
We recognise that the Commission has had to
deal with extremely complex and emotionally charged issues with
political overtones woven into them. As a Committee we have not
sought to evaluate the operation of the Commission or make judgements
about its determinations, since we are not party to all the facts
which lead to particular decisions being taken. Without us researching
the issues and conducting a widespread enquiry we would not be
in a position to give you the kind of detailed response to the
question which you seek.
The Church and Government Committee, the General
Board and the General Assembly have been supportive of the work
of the Parades Commission, having initially supported it being
established and we have paid tribute to the people who have been
prepared to serve on it. It has been the position of the church
that people ought to co-operate with the Commission, seek local
accommodation, and where that has not been possible to achieve,
they should obey the decisions of the Commission.
We have commended people who reached local accommodations
and those who have obeyed the determinations and have been critical
of those who have not been prepared to obey them. I will append
some of the statements which have been issued recently which will
give you some idea of how we have approached these issues.
One matter in the legislation, which might be
looked at, is the level of seniority of the police officer required
to receive the 11/1. I am told that in small local stations it
may not always be possible to find a sergeant or someone above
The General Assembly is the governing body of
the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The General Board meets between
meetings of the General Assembly and the Church and Government
Committee reports to both.
7 December 2000