'Ardoyne-style talks' wanted at Drumcree

Published Wednesday, 09 May 2012
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Craigavon Council is set to ask the Parades' Commission to set up a new initiative - similar to one in north Belfast's Ardoyne - aimed at resolving the long-running Drumcree dispute in Portadown.

'Ardoyne-style talks' wanted at Drumcree
Orangemen protest the Parades Commission ruling. (© Pacemaker)

Orange Order parades have been banned from the Garvaghy Road since 1998 but, while violent scenes of the past have not been replicated in recent years, weekly protests are still held by members of Portadown District.

"I know there's a small number of people who think that the problem has gone away," the Ulster Unionist Party's Colin McCusker said, having put forward a motion on the issue on Tuesday night.

"But for the 900 members of Portadown District, their families and supporters, this problem still persists.

"We've had over 5,000 protests now - it's still ongoing and I want to see a resolution to it."

But according to the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition, the issue has already been resolved.

Spokesman Breandan MacCionnaith told UTV: "Coming from the viewpoint of this community, Drumcree has been solved.

"There have been many initiatives over the years - I can't see what another one's going to bring to the table."

He added: "The Orange Order knows that they have a perfectly acceptable, viable route to take them back from Drumcree church into the town centre."

But Portadown's District Master Darryl Hewitt disagrees.

"I think any dispute, if one side is not happy with the outcome, then the situation hasn't been resolved," he said.

Portadown District certainly are not happy with the current situation and we seek to get a resolution that suits everybody - we have said for these past five years that we're willing to meet anybody with no pre-conditions.

"And that includes the Garvaghy Road residents."

The UUP's motion that the council write to the Parades' Commission was backed by the DUP and Alliance Party, but opposed by Sinn Féin and the SDLP.

SDLP councillor Joe Nelson said that his party didn't feel that mediation had worked in the past.

"Unless there's some new and radical thinking coming forward, we don't believe that the north Belfast model is particularly going to work in Portadown," he added.

The motion was passed by majority vote and a letter will be sent to the Parades' Commission.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
25 Comments
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (919 days ago):
I'm still waiting on comments here as well UTV. Do you employ independent moderators at all or do you like to present a specific outlook depending on individual prejudices?
Thomas in Portadown wrote (924 days ago):
This moderation of comments is getting out of hand UTV. It is very clear that you are censoring the majority of comments from an orange or unionist point of view. In response to Ulysses32, the murder of the 3 young boys was not in the name of the Orange Order. That was the Loyalist cowboy paramilitaries. In regards to Harbinson, he was threw out of the Order for his activities. The guns in the fields were not in the Orange Order's interests, as other radical elements had different plans. Therefore don't tarnish the Orange Order with the association of terrorists and pedafiles please.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (925 days ago):
The Residents of the area do NOT want the orange order to march through their area, so therefore it shouldnt be allowed. Theres other perfectly able routes the OO could take. Year after year when it comes up to the summer season the Orange Order feels it has to right to reawaken sectarianism and bigotry. How can Northern Ireland move on if the flames of sectarianism is rekindled year after year. The Answer is for the Orange Order to be banned completey or for their parade routes to take place AWAY from any Irish nationalist area. The days of when the OO were showed favouritism is long gone.
seamas in belfst wrote (925 days ago):
Ed. You’re right. This is the UK and in the UK no-one has an absolute right to parade. In the UK marchers have a right to parade but the authorities have a right to restrict that right if it interferes with other peoples rights. All the OO have to do is make a small alteration to the route for the return leg. That way get the Orangemen get their parade and the residents get left in peace. That’s a win-win situation. That’s the proper thing to do. That’s the reasonable thing to do. That’s the way parades are dealt with in the rest if the UK and thats what should happen here. Thats all the solution thats needed.
david in portadown wrote (925 days ago):
i find it starnge that several people i have talked to about this page have all posted a uniost view however none of their comments were allowed to be posted including one that i posted myself. there was nothing said to offend it was only to say that we want a chance to talk with the garvaghy residents as mr hewitt said with no pre conditions and try to come up with a resoulation that would please both uniost and nationalist parties. the matter has not been resloved as there was never an aggreement made between the orange and resident of garvaghy. instead of talking to the cameras and the public saying that everything is sorted why dont you talk to the other party and try to make a resoulation and end the fighting and bitterness once and for all so that we can all move on from this predicament. what are you affraid of?
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