Northern Ireland

Agreement on Ardoyne parade reached between CARA and Orange Order

The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue
The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue

AN agreement has been reached between an Ardoyne residents group and the Orange Order over a contentious banned parade in north Belfast.

And if the deal is approved by the Parades Commission, it means that three Orange lodges can make a return parade along the Crumlin Road on October 1 - the first time since July 2013.

The deal has been welcomed by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Secretary of State James Brokenshire and Irish Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanaghan.

It is understood that Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) representatives met local Orange Lodge members earlier this evening to discuss a solution to the long-running dispute at Twaddell Avenue which has costs tens of milllions to police.

But Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) are angry over what they claim was  a lack of public consultation.

Spokesman Dee Fennell told the Irish News:  "There has been no pubhic consultation on this deal whatsoever. The faciltators were contacted on numerous occassions with requests for a meeting but refused to facilitate a meeting."

He added that GARC would be holding its own meeting within the Ardoyne community over the next few days.

The deal was brokered by the Reverend Harold Good and Derry businessman Jim Roddy.

A joint statement released to the media from Rev Good and Mr Roddy read: 

'We are pleased to announce that a local agreement has been reached to bring an end to the difficulties surrounding parades and protests in the Twaddell/Crumlin Road area.

'The agreement has the full support of the three lodges and the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association.

'The full text of the agreement will be made available to the media tomorrow.'

The dispute arose out of a Parades Commission ruling in 2013 to ban an Orange march past the Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road, due to nationalists' complaints and objections.

Violence and rioting erupted afterwards and the Twaddell Avenue protest camp was formed, with loyalists vowing to keep the protest going until the lodges could march along what they considered to be a traditional route.

Mr Brokenshire commended the Orange Order and CARA for their efforts in negotiating a solution.

He added: "This is a clear demonstration that local dialogue can work, and offers up the best chance of resolving disputes like this.”

Mr Flanagan also commended both sides for their "spirit of cooperation and mutal respect that has allowed a common understanding to be developed on how these parades can be managed."

He added:“I encourage the wider community to give this initiative its full support. I acknowledge the hard work in a spirit of genuine engagement and reconciliation by all those who were party to achieving this new approach.  

“I wish to pay tribute to those in the Orange Order and among local residents for their leadership and courage in achieving this agreement. I look forward to its full implementation in good faith and good neighbourliness.”

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland also welcomed the news.

A PFNI spokesperson said: "This will immediately release the officers deployed in connection with that protest to be utilised in front-line duties in the communities they were extracted from.

“It will also help to take some of the pressure off those front line officers who, on a daily basis, are struggling to meet demand. We obviously commend all those who played a part in making this resolution possible."