Northern Ireland news

Deal to end impasse over Orange Order parade is scuppered

The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue was set up following the Parades Commission's decision not to allow the march in Ardoyne 
Brian Hutton, Press Association

Talks to allow an Orange Order parade to pass through one of the north's most contentious marching flashpoints have collapsed.

Loyalist and nationalist groups were in negotiations to end a row over parades through the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

It has been the scene of rioting and unrest during the marching season for years.

A proposed deal to resolve tensions was to include a commitment from loyalists to dismantle a protest camp at nearby Twaddell Avenue, which has already cost more than £20 million to police.

In return, the Orange Order was to be allowed march through Ardoyne on Friday, the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

But in a statement, the Orange Order's County Grand Lodge confirmed speculation the agreement had been scuppered.

"The County Grand Lodge of Belfast very much regrets the initiative to resolve the Crumlin Road impasse did not succeed," a spokesman said.

"We thank those involved for their efforts and input.

"The County remains committed to supporting the Ligoniel lodges complete their Twelfth of July 2013 parade."

The Twaddell Avenue protest camp was set up after the Orange Order was banned by the Parades Commission from marching through Ardoyne on its return from Twelfth of July demonstrations in 2013.

Dozens of police officers were injured in the violence that erupted after the march was prevented from making its intended return leg.

Protesters vowed to stay at the Twaddell camp until the Parades Commission ban was overturned and they were allowed to march through the flashpoint.

The annual celebrations mark the victory of protestant King William over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Co Meath more than 300 years ago.

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