Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Act 1974

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:10 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 9:10 pm, 26th June 1985

Because they have walked along that road. That is why. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that they must be stopped after 100 years of processing along that road? Is that his message to the House? Why are they to be stopped? However loud and powerful is the hon. Gentleman's voice, it is not his voice to which members of the Government Front Bench will listen. Instead they will listen to the voice of Peter Barry, who has been highly exalted by the Government and has the right to speak on behalf of the minority and to make representations on its behalf. I wonder what part of the minority Peter Barry has the right to speak for. He is not speaking for the people of Sinn Fein because they will have nothing to do with him. They would like to bring down his Government as quickly as they would like to bring down this Government. He is putting on the pressure with this procedure.

The hon. Member for Foyle tells us that the New Irish Forum would give us all peace in Ireland, but the influence in Dublin wants to stop an Orange parade that has been going on for years. I have a straight question to put to the Government: are they going to stop traditional Loyalist parades? If they are, they must stop traditional national and Republican parades. Will they do that? No, they do not want to hear about it. Some of them do not even know that there is such a thing. They think that we are so bigoted in Ulster that we would not allow such a parade to happen.

What has happened in the areas where there is so much confrontation and talk? Houses have been built and Republicans and Roman Catholics have been housed there. Immediately they get into those areas they say that they will change what happens there. Therefore, Unionist public representatives know that if these people are housed in these areas they will want to change the procedures there. The hon. Member for Foyle must know that that puts public representatives into an impossible position. They must take a stand on this issue.

There is no need for any talk about re-routing this parade. There is no need to cancel the parade at the Tunnel. There was no need to cancel the parade in Castlewellan. It was cancelled because a Roman Catholic mass was to be held on Saturday night because the Pope had said that the mass could be held then so that they could have a free Sunday. The hon. Member for Foyle should know more about this than I do. As a result, more people were going to mass on Saturday.

What would have happened if the parade had gone on Friday instead? The people were just told not to go at all. Now they have said that they want to go because it is a traditional parade ground and they have always gone this way. Will the Government listen to Peter Barry or say that they will let the traditional parade go through because they must acknowledge that there are traditional parades in other areas and they must do what is fair for all traditional parades? That is the important issue, and the hon. Member for Foyle must realise how the Loyalists feel about this.