Northern Ireland news

Fault lines within nationalism remain over Ardoyne

The Garc residents' group, pictured at a July 12 parade at Ardoyne, has yet to declare its hand over Saturday's planned march. Picture by Hugh Russell
Analysis by Connla Young

THE agreement ending the stand-off at Twaddell comes after one of the most peaceful marching seasons in recent years.

Whether it becomes a template for disputes in other areas remains to be seen.

While nationalists and loyal orders have reached accords in the past, Derry being an obvious example, it is rare for local agreements to travel.

The collapse of a similar deal at Ardoyne before the Twelfth resulted in no recriminations between those involved in talks, sparking optimism in some quarters that the issues could still be settled.

Those involved in the negotiations will hope this is a significant step towards finding a permanent resolution to the long-running dispute.

While differences within unionism that resulted in the previous deal's failure now appear to have been resolved, fault lines within nationalism remain.

The agreement has been reached between members of the Orange Order and Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association, linked in the past with Sinn Fein, but is opposed by another campaign group, the Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective (Garc) - which was not consulted during negotiations.

Other than state its opposition, Garc has yet to show its hand and is unlikely to do so until the Parades Commission has been notified about next Saturday’s planned march.

In the past the group has organised well attended protests against loyal order parades and may well opt for this course of action again.

The deal, reached with the help of Rev Harold Good and Jim Roddy, has also yet to be rubber stamped by the Parades Commission, although it is unlikely it will make any decision that runs contrary to the current consensus.

However, for some Ardoyne residents there are sure to be several sticking points.

Orange Order promises of a “moratorium” rather than a permanent end to the return march through Ardoyne and the establishment of a process that could allow future return parades may yet be an issue for some nationalists.

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