Northern Ireland news

Nationalist residents say they will oppose Twaddell deal

It is believed a deal has been done to allow members of the Orange Order to pass nationalist homes in Ardoyne which will see the end of a loyalist protest camp at Twaddell
Connla Young

A nationalist residents group has said it will oppose any deal to allow a controversial Orange Order parade through a north Belfast interface.

A spokesman for Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) spoke out after it emerged that a senior Protestant church leader has been involved in talks to strike a deal between Orangemen and Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA).

Sources say Methodist president Rev Harold Good has helped broker the deal, which has yet to be finalised.

Rev Good, along with Catholic priests Fr Alec Reid, witnessed the decommissioning of IRA weapons in 2005.

Some members of GARC are viewed as anti-agreement, while CARA is considered to be close to Sinn Féin.

It is understood the deal will allow members of three lodges and accompanying bands to pass nationalist homes in Ardoyne next Friday - the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

It is believed the planned parade will take place in the early morning if given the go-ahead by the Parades Commission.

In return a nearby loyalist protest camp set up on waste ground nearby will be dismantled.

The Orange Order will not apply to march past the area on their return from Twelfth celebrations this year as part of the deal.

Serious violence broke out in 2013 when the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from passing the interface while making their way back from the main Twelfth parade.

Since then loyalists have held almost nightly protest parades in the area.

When contacted last night a spokesman for the Orange Order said it had no comment to make while CARA representatives did not respond to calls.

However, a spokesman for GARC reacted angrily to the news.

“This supposed deal has been agreed without any consultation with local residents whatsoever and it will be opposed,” he said.

The spokesman said local people have endured “three years of harassment via nightly parading, attacks and the illegal hate camp facilitated for three years by an executive who own the land and PSNI who refuse to move them”.

He said nationalist residents will be meeting in the coming days to discuss the deal.

“Our response will be peaceful, radical and a mobilisation of people to oppose this decision,” he said.

“We will also be calling on people from around the country to support local residents,” he said.

The GARC spokesman said no local consultation has taken place.

“CARA told members of the local community they would not be engaging with the Orange Order behind the scenes and if they did they would consult with the local community and they failed to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile, nationalists at a west Belfast interface have called off a planned protest after the Orange Order was banned by the Parades Commission from passing through a peaceline gate into a nationalist area at Workman Avenue, near the Springfield Road.

Up to 100 protesters had been given permission to hold a protest in an area that has seen several people killed by loyalists.

Springfield Residents’ Action Group spokesman Sean Murray last night confirmed that has now been called off.

On Thursday the Parades Commission rejected a request to review their original decision.

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