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Parades Commission's Determination 2001


DETERMINATION MADE IN RELATION TO POMEROY TRUE BLUES FLUTE BAND NOTIFIED TO TAKE PLACE IN POMEROY ON FRIDAY 3 AUGUST 2001

INTRODUCTION

1. Section 8(1) of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998, provides that:
The Commission may issue a determination in respect of a proposed public procession imposing on the persons organising or taking part in it such conditions as the Commission considers necessary.

2. The Commission has noted the details provided on the Form 11/1 submitted on 6 July 2001, concerning the Pomeroy True Blues Flute Band parade in Pomeroy on Friday 3 August 2001. The Commission has considered the need to issue a determination as outlined above, against the factors described in its Guidelines document.

3. The Commission is conscious of its previous determinations in connection with this parade. The Commission, however, has rightly had special regard to the nature of this parade in the light of the 1998 Act, the Commissions stated principles (as set out in its annual reports),the Statutory Guidelines and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It has also considered and evaluated all representations received and all information assembled. It has subsequently concluded, considering all relevant factors, that the determination, which it now takes, is the most appropriate for this particular parade at this particular time.

BACKGROUND

4. This is a traditional fundraising parade. The Commission understands that Pomeroy has seen much sectarian tension and division. As it recognised in previous determinations concerning parading in this area, community relations continue to be strained.

CONSIDERATION
5. The Commission is obliged by statute to have regard to the Guidelines issued under Section 5 of the Public Processions Act and has done so. The Commission has also been alert to its duties as a public authority under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Commission believes that, from the perspective of the parade organisers, the Convention rights engaged are those protected by Articles 9, and 10 and, in particular, Article 11. None of those rights is absolute.

6. Further, the human rights of other persons, to whom the Commission also owes a legal duty, must be equally considered. Those who live, work, shop, trade and carry on business in the affected locality enjoy rights under Article 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of the First Protocol thereto. In common with Articles 9, 10 and 11, none of these rights is absolute. The Commission has also been mindful to take into account its positive obligations under Article 2 of the Convention.

7. It is not possible for all of those who would claim the benefit of the Human Rights Act 1998 to exercise and enjoy their Convention rights to the fullest extent, where rights are in competition with each other. The Commission, therefore, has had to undertake a balancing exercise, bearing in mind the statutory Guidelines, in an attempt to reach a determination, which is fair and proportionate in all the circumstances. In addition to having regard to the Guidelines the Commission has had regard to the criteria specified in Section 8(6) of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

8. The Commission has also had regard to the issue of engagement. One of the seven fundamental principles identified by the North Report is that all those involved should work towards resolution of difficulties through local accommodation. As stated in the statutory Guidelines, the Commission has regard to the seven North principles.

9. As indicated at page 15 of its second Annual Report, the Commission (while avoiding an excessively prescriptive approach) considers the essence of engagement to be attempts at genuine communication (whether direct or indirect) between protagonists to a particular parading dispute. A series of pointers to what constitutes genuine engagement is listed on p.16 of that report.

10. As stated in paragraph 4.4 of the Guidelines, the Commission also takes into account any communications between parade organisers and the local community or the absence thereof. Further, the Commission will assess the measures, if any, offered or taken by parade organisers to address genuinely held relevant concerns of members of the local community.

11. In making its determination, the Commission has accepted that there is a right of lawful and peaceful protest vested in those who legitimately object to the notified parade. However, there is neither right nor justification for unlawful or violent protest. The Commission further considers that, in all the circumstances, there is an obligation on representatives of any protest group and local community and political leaders to use their good offices and/or take reasonable steps as appropriate to prevent violent and/or unlawful protest and, further, to state strongly and unequivocally that any protest should be exclusively peaceful and lawful. This will be to the positive advantage of the local population, as it will reduce the risk of any possible impairment of their rights and freedoms stemming from such protests.

12. The Commission emphasises strongly that the notified parade must be conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner.

13. The Commission has also taken into account the likelihood of a significant policing operation being required whether or not this parade is permitted to pursue its entire notified route. It is aware that in the light of this and any protests that may materialise, the disruption to the local community and the possible infringement of protected Convention rights will increase commensurately.

14. The Commission has had regard to the traditional nature of this parade, the purpose of which is described earlier in the determination.

15. Having carefully and thoroughly considered all the evidence, information and advice available to it, the Commission takes the view that it is necessary to curtail part of the parades notified route, and it has therefore placed conditions on the parade. This decision is set against the background of continuing local community tension. It recognises the real possibility of damaging community relations with a consequent effect on the likelihood of public disorder should the parade proceed along the entirety of its notified route. Whilst recognising the fundamental importance of the right to freedom of assembly, the Commission finds it necessary to exercise its powers under section 8 of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 to place restrictions on the parade.

16. In pursuing these conditions, the Commission pursues the legitimate aims laid down in Article 10(2) and 11(2) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, of seeking to prevent disorder and to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

17. In determining whether the conditions are necessary in a democratic society and proportionate, the Commission has regard inter alia to the criteria set down in section 8(6) of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 and to its own Guidelines made under section 5 of the Act and to which under section 8 (5) it shall have regard when making a determination.

18. Having regard to the factors set out above the Commission considers that the conditions it now imposes are necessary and proportionate to the aim pursued. The conditions are not such as to affect significantly the individuals right to assemble. There will be little impact on the overall objective of the parade, which is to celebrate the 12 July. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the conditions it imposes strike a fair balance between the needs of the community and the rights of the individual.

DETERMINATION
The Parades Commissions determination is that the following conditions are placed on the organiser and participants in the parade by Pomeroy True Blues Flute Band Parade on Friday 3 August 2001.

A. The parade is prohibited from entering that part of the notified route beyond 13-15 Main Street, Pomeroy.

B. Only the bands notified on the Form 11/1 may participate in the Parade.

C. The bands shall not play any music on those parts of Pomeroy in the vicinity of churches but may strike a single side drum beat to facilitate the keeping of marching time.

D. When the parade is in progress there shall be no undue stoppages or delays. The parade shall stay close to the near side of the road at all times to minimise disruption and to facilitate the passing of vehicular and other traffic.

E. The organiser shall arrange for the presence of an adequate number of stewards to ensure that all parade participants act in an orderly manner.

F. The parade organiser shall bring to the attention of stewards the guidance for parade participants contained in Appendices A and B of the Commissionƒ’‚¢ƒ¢â‚š‚¬ƒ¢â‚ž‚¢s Code of Conduct. For ease of reference Appendices A and B are reproduced below.

G. The parade organiser shall ensure that all stewards and participants obey any direction given by the police in relation to this parade.

H. The parade organiser shall ensure that these conditions are drawn to the attention of all participants.



APPENDIX
Guidance for Anyone Participating in Parades

A Behaviour
All participants in parades should:
- behave with due regard for the rights, traditions and feeling of others in the vicinity,
- refrain from using words or behaviour which could reasonably be perceived as being intentionally sectarian, provocative, threatening, abusive, insulting or lewd,
- obey the lawful directions of parade organizers and stewards at all times, from assembly to dispersal,
- abide by the conditions of this Code of Conduct,
- comply with police directions and in accordance with legislation.

B Dress
No paramilitary-style clothing is to be worn at any time during a parade.

C Parade
Whenever possible, the parade should be positioned on one side of the carriageway so as to allow for the free flow of traffic, or as otherwise stipulated by police.

D Route
Participants should keep to the designated route as directed by the police.

E Alcohol
Alcohol should not be consumed immediately prior to, or during a parade. An organizer or steward, who believes a participant to be under the influence od alcohol, should take the necessary measures to remove that person from the parade.

F Bands and Music
Each band must clearly display its name. Restrictions on the playing of music will be in accordance with the conditions as set out in Appendix B of this Code. No musical instrument will bear any inscription or mark of a proscribed organization.

G Flags etc.
Flags and other displays often have a legitimate historical significance, but in no circumstances should such items relating to a proscribed organization be displayed.

H Stewards
The names of stewards will have been notified to the police and the Parades Commission at the time of notifying the proposed parade.
Stewards should:
- be properly trained
- be briefed by the organizers prior to the parade
- carry proof of their status at all times during the event, and provide this information to police on request
- be fully aware of their responsibilities and role
- be highly visible by means of jackets, singlets, armbands, etc.
- not consume alcohol before or during the parade
- co-operate with the police
- be prepared to identified to the police any persons in the parade who may be committing any offence against criminal law.

I Policing
Organisers of parades must co-operate with the police from the time of submission of the notice of intention to parade until the parade disperses.

J Dispersal
When a parade has concluded, all those taking part must disperse immediately. It will be the responsibility of the organizers to ensure compliance with instructions in this regard.

K Abiding by Conditions
Organisers must ensure that all participants in any parade have been informed of any conditions imposed. As a general principle, the organiser is responsible for the behaviour of all participants and for ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct.Pomeroy True Blues are a Loyalist Marching Flute Band Established in 1945. Since then the band has grew in numbers and in stature now boasting a 35 strong membership. As mentioned in the
"Orange Order" section of this site, our band was formed as early as 1945 to accompany and entertain the members of Pomeroy True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL 293) as they paraded on special occasions such as the Twelfth of July and other historical days in the year. The band and lodge have maintained very strong links up to the present day with many band members being members of the lodge. The band still uses the Orange hall (Bonn Orange Hall, Pomeroy) to practice in and the two groups have been financially supportive of each other when necessary. 
 
In recent years the bands Annual Parade and Competition alongside other Protestant Cultural Parades  in Pomeroy have come under scrutiny from - IRA/Sinn-Fein. They have tried with every means possible to stop any sort of protestant parade from taking part, clearly denying us our Civil and Religious liberties. Each year we have to apply to the Parades Commission to march along a route that our band has previously done for 50 years.  Each year we are rejected and prevented from progressing past 13- 15 Main Street, Pomeroy, which is clearly the main part of our route.  This does not stop us from holding our parade and we look forward to the day when our rights are restored. In recent times, Church parades have been permitted to attend Altedesert Church of Ireland church at the top of the town. This is some progress that is very much welcomed and we look forward to the day when we are able to parade the town on all occassions.
 
A copy of the Parades Commission's Determination can be read by clicking here.

 

All that we ask is to parade the town of Pomeroy in a peaceful and dignified manner, expressing our Protestant Culture and Heritage. In our view, that is not too much to ask!!!!

 
Some Interesting Facts
In 1991 a petition was signed to prevent the Orange Order from parading through the village of Pomeroy. It stated that the majority of the town opposed the parade.

A petition in support of an application to the Courts to have the a loyalist parade in Pomeroy banned provides another example. The applicant was supported by Mr Sean Beagly a Sinn Fein councillor in Cookstown. Mr Beagly was found to be a resident of the village of Carrickmore and not Pomeroy. Of 586 signatories to the petition 219 lived in Pomeroy. In other words the overwhelming majority, 367 were not "residents". Only 35 lived on the actual parade route. 77 signatories did not even live close enough to be in the same policing area. The applicant lived over half a Kilometre from the nearest point to the march. Most of the residents of Pomeroy had not in fact signed the petition.
 
Our Band
At present we are currently recruiting several new members, all whom are learning the flute. Some have come through the ranks and used to play the cymbols. Band Practice is ongoing all year round so that we can get ready for the incoming season. At the moment we already boast fairly strong numbers in the following areas:

Colour Party, 5,
Drummers, 6
Base - Drummers, 2
Cymbols, 2
Fluters, 19
Black Thorne, 1
 
History
The band was formed in 1945 and is one of the oldest flute bands in Northern Ireland. We are regularly referred to as the 'PTB'. Today the band has been totally revolutionised comparing back only 20 years. This is a picture of some young recruits wearing our old uniform in 1993.



Old Uniforms 1993
Our Old Uniforms in 1993.
These uniforms were about for many years, although many of the current members would not remember them. They consisted of blue trousers and blue Jacket. Underneath a white shirt was worn and accompanied with a red tie. Also was worn was a blue hat with white hackle. In the middle of the 1990's the band purchased a brand new 'Guard's Style' uniform which is still in use today. The then new uniform encouraged many new members and has since gave the band some of the best days to date. It consists of a light blue jacket with navy trousers, keeping with the theme 'True Blues'.


12th of July 1995, CoaghThe picture to the right shows us on Parade at the Annual Twelfth of July Celebrations in Coagh, County Tyrone (1995), wearing our new uniforms. This was one of Pomeroy's best seasons at which stage the Band had over 25 fluters' and 8 drummers on parade. Twelfth of July in Coagh 1995.

Some of the current (older!!!) members have been with the band since its formation over 50 years ago. It's surprising the dedication and commitment that they bring to the band. They also have children, nephews, and nieces in the band.

Our band has always been made up of large family names, which fill the town and country roads of Pomeroy. For many years now the band has been filled with generations of the same families. This is what makes the history of our band so special and the current influx of new recruits has come about because of parents or relatives already in the band or were in the band in the past.

Although there are some members from neighbouring towns of Dungannon and Cookstown, the majority of the members are from the Pomeroy area.


Location

The band comes from a wee town called Pomeroy, situated between Dungannon and Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.


There is also a direct route from Omagh, that brings you though Sixmilecross. Therefore making Pomeroy very accessible from all areas of Northern Ireland.
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