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Parade will not pass before talks, commission tells order

Published 03/10/2013

Allison Morris




The Parades Commission has once again banned an Orange Order march from parading the nationalist Ardoyne area. Three Ligoniel lodges and one band wanted to walk the contested stretch of the Crumlin Road at 9am this Saturday in what they called the Twaddell initiative.

Loyalists were refused permission to walk the route on July 12 and have since been holding protests at the interface and set up a permanent camp at Twaddell.

The Orange Order has said if allowed to walk the route on Saturday morning they would begin talks with nationalists immediately in relation to next year's parading season. however, the commission ruled yesterday that Saturday's parade can not pass Ardoyne and indicated that talks must take place before any change in the determination.

The parading watchdog ruled that the parade shall not pass the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road and the junction of hesketh Road and Crumlin Road.

The commission also reiterated its call for "sincere and sustained" dialogue to resolve the issue.

A spokesman said: "The commission was assured by those representing the Orange Order that the dialogue commenced, just six days before the July 12 parade, would continue no matter what the decision of the commission.

"The commission is disappointed that this has not yet happened.

"To re-emphasise the need for dialogue the commission wrote to all parties, including the three lodges of the Ligoniel Combine, in early September 2013 to encourage engagement. While residents replied positively to this initiative the commission is still waiting for a response from others."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said: "The Parades Commission's decision in relation to the Twad-dell Initiative demonstrates that they have learnt nothing from the experiences of recent years.

"They call on others to compromise and to be flexible in difficult situations but they refuse to practise these qualities themselves."

In a statement the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast said: "It is shameful that the Parades Commission - who created the situation at Woodvale - choose to consistently deny civil and religious liberty for all in north Belfast, and blatantly ignore a commitment by the institution to full and open dialogue with Ardoyne residents following the completion of this long-held and traditional parade."

Sinn Fein north Belfast MLA, Gerry Kelly described the decision as a "sensible" one.

"The dialogue that began before the 12th July to find a resolution to the situation should recommence without pre-conditions," he said.

"Setting the precondition that a parade must take place before dialogue can commence is not the way to progress this situation. What needs to happen is direct dialogue between the local residents and the Orange Order."

PUP spokesman Winston Irvine denounced the decision as "reprehensible and narrow-minded".

"The Parades Commission has once again demonstrated its utter contempt for the rights of working class protestants who have made a genuine and proactive offer," he said.