Leading article

Time for Orange Order to meet Sinn Féin

It is a measure of the changes which have swept over our society that Prince Charles could shake hands with Gerry Kelly, the senior Sinn Féin representative and former prominent IRA figure, without a single protest of any description.

Their exchange of greetings in north Belfast on Tuesday came just days after taoiseach Leo Varadhar was given a warm welcome to the headquarters of the Orange Order in the east of the city.

As new understandings are evolving across the board, despite our wider political difficulties, it is a pity that Orange officials have declined to respond to a long-standing request for a meeting from Sinn Féin 's northern leader Michelle O'Neill.

Discussions carried out in an atmosphere of mutual respect may not solve all our problems but they are capable of taking us for at least a small step in the right direction.

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