Protests 'not helping' Ardoyne talks

Published Sunday, 28 July 2013
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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.

Protests 'not helping' Ardoyne talks
Orange supporters on the Woodvale Road during a protest at the police lines (© Presseye)

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 News
Comments Comments
35 Comments
desdodes in Lower Ormeau wrote (366 days ago):
Antaine. HI 5.
Dan in Belfast wrote (366 days ago):
@Antaine in Belfast that is the single best response i have ever read on a story you have said exactly whats happening and i agree with you completely here here!!
realistic in planet earth wrote (366 days ago):
@Antaine in Belfast, an excellent post, showing how both sides can sort this out, thanks! ..:)
Eamo in Belfast wrote (367 days ago):
To Sam 1690 i dont want to take away your right to protest. As you are protesting in your own area and away from the front if the road. You can protest all you want in the Woodvale you wont walk past Ardoyne until you talk. Last year was the nail in your coffin as it showed the world just how bigoted you are by bussing yourselves back to walk past Ardoyne then at the Dales getting on tge bus again to go to the field. So last year how did you get home. As you have been out a few weeks now try the same way. I am sure your family will be glad to see you.
Antaine in Belfast wrote (367 days ago):
The responses from the loyalist community here are depressing and also revealing. Civil and religious liberty are NOT absolute, ANYWHERE in the world. They are subject to the laws of the land and to consideration of their effect on people of differing views. NO loyalist has ANY right to march when and where he or she sees fit. Such marches are subject to the law as promulgated by Her Majesty's lawful government. ANY attempt to ignore these laws is a DIRECT attack on Her Majesty's role as Head of State. Which begs the question: to whom are these loyalists actually loyal? The difficulties over the few parades which are contentious can be easily resolved by direct talks between the residents in the affected areas and the Orange Order. If, as the Order claims, their marches are not coat-trailing supremacist events, then it should have NO difficulty in proving this by freely and without preconditions entering talks with those residents until a solution is found. Both sides need to accept that sometimes it will go their way, others it won't. Such is life in a democratic society. I also have particular difficulty about loyalists claiming that Orange marches are part of "Protestant culture". They clearly are not, since only a tiny number of Protestants globally belong to the Order, and, outside the Order, throughout the rest of the world, ordinary decent Protestants feel no desire to so aggressively flaunt their religious convictions in front of their neighbours of differing religious view. I have never seen Catholics here insisting on having a Corpus Christi Procession up and down the Shankill, because they would feel such an event currently inappropriate and insensitive. Why, then, do we never see such self-scrutiny from loyalists or the Orange Order? If Orangeism isn't about rabid hatred of Catholicism, why the constant insistence on marching where it is clear to even a blind man that offence is the driving force behind the march? Why the blood-and-thunder vitriol in tunes played and songs sung? A Protestant prince (aided by the Pope) defeated a Catholic king in 1690, yet, despite the fact that 323 years have passed and the fact that Protestantism and Catholicism globally now co-exist peacefully, we still have the same "Catholics are the enemy" mantra from the Order and its followers and ALL the violence and hatred which that mantra seeks to justify. I believe the civil power should make it clear to the Order that its civil and religious liberties are NOT absolute and CANNOT be exercised without its considering the sensibilities of others who are of differing or no religious view, whose views and rights are equal to that of the Order and its followers.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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