A three-member body which decides on the routing of contentious parades in Northern Ireland. Generally deals with parades by the Orange Order, the Apprentice Boys and other groups on the Unionist/Loyalist/Protestant side of things, but also regulates for marches by organisations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Orange Order denounces them as an unelected quango, which they undoubtedly are, but they do fulfil an essential role, making final decisions on where a parade should be routed when agreement cannot be reached between the marchers and the residents of the area through which they want to march.

The Parades Commission are one of those organisations who seem to do no right. I pity them.

Sometimes the residents' complaints about a proposed parade are adjudged to be simple trouble making, and the parade is allowed to go ahead.

Sometimes they decide a parade is too likely to attract the wrong sort of militants and cause offence, so they order it to be re-routed.

Where either of these two rulings are handed down, the "losing" side (or a similarly opinioned paramilitary group) is fairly likely to go on the rampage. This is described in Belfast in July.

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