Protests 'not helping' Ardoyne talks

Protests 'not helping' Ardoyne talks

Continued protests by the Orange Order over the Ardoyne parade decision are damaging efforts to reach a solution to the issue, a senior SDLP politician has said.

On Saturday, for the second week in a row, members of the Orange Order and their supporters who were prevented from marching along the Crumlin Road staged another protest on the Woodvale Road.

It comes after three Ligoniel lodges were prevented from marching past the Ardoyne shops by the Parades Commission for the return journey of the Twelfth demonstrations.

Each week since the Twelfth, the lodges have applied to the Parades Commission, they say, to be able to complete their return journey home.

However, on each occasion the parading watchdog has refused the requests.

Following a peaceful parade and protest on Saturday, when asked if another application would be made to march the route next week, Mervyn Gibson, chaplain for the County Grand Lodge of Belfast, said the situation would be "reviewed".

However, SDLP MLA for the area Alban Maginness called for the demonstrations to end.

Talking to UTV at the Ardoyne shops on Saturday, he said: "I think everyone in this area welcomes peaceful protest and those that have organised it should be commended for that.

"However, if you bring people out onto the streets, even on a good day [like Saturday] when people are probably feeling in a relaxed mood there are still dangers and the danger is at this very difficult interface.

"I appeal to the Orange Order not to continue these protests because they are not helping the situation one iota."

Mr Maginness said continued protests made talks "more and more difficult".

"But the residents are intent on re-engaging with the Orange Order and I hope that does take place and the SDLP are full supportive of that," he added.

"But it makes it extremely difficult if protests are continuing for talks to actually take place."

Following Saturday's demonstration Joe Marley, from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association also called for the Orange Order to engage with those living in the area and to let "good relations prevail".

© UTV

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