Senior Orangemen attend Twaddell protest

Published Monday, 07 July 2014
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Senior Orange figures have taken part in Monday night's protest parade in north Belfast over the Parades Commission's Ardoyne rulings in what was described as a show of solidarity with the three lodges affected.

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Last year the commission stopped the three Ligoniel lodges from parading past the Ardoyne shops as part of their return Twelfth parade.

A protest camp was established at Twaddell Avenue in the wake of last year's decision.

The Parades Commission has again allowed the lodges to march the route on the Twelfth morning but again stopped a parade passing the contentious stretch of the route on the return parade.

The decision sparked outrage with unionists pulling out of talks and saying that would take a "graduated response" to the determinations.

Edward Stevenson Grand Master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland took part in Monday's protest parade over the decision.

He told UTV: "We are here to show solidarity with our brethren of the three Ligoniel lodges who have not got home since the Twelfth last year.

"We want to show them the entire Orange Order is behind them."

Orange Order Grand Secretary Drew Nelson added: "We live in unusual times and we have unusual problems by democratic standards around the world where people are not allowed to exercise their right to a peaceful parade.

Mr Nelson said the presence of senior Orange members at the north Belfast flashpoint, was not part of the recent call from unionists for a graduated response to the Parades Commission's Ardoyne rulings.

We want to make the point to the Secretary of State who bears the ultimate political responsibility for the situation know that this issue is not going away, that we believe that the legislation that set up the Parades Commission is flawed, it's one-sided and it's bad law.

Drew Nelson, Orange Order

He added: "I would reiterate our appeal that on the Twelfth, the Eleventh and over the holiday period, people should obey the law.

"If they are to protest it should be peaceful, law-abiding and passive.

"And if there is any violence which emanates from our community it will only play into the hands of our republican opposition."

Mr Nelson said he has requested a meeting with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers for before the Twelfth which he said was part of the graduated response.

He added: "The actions of the Parades Commission are making the situation worse in Northern Ireland and not better."

Joe Marley from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents' Association said residents hoped the Orange Order would "re-engage with talks".

He added: "We want to move forward to get a resolution to this issue.

"The big focus for us was ensuring there were calm heads for Saturday."

He has also called for unionists and Orange members to spell out what they mean by a "graduated response".

The term graduated response is very sinister in its own right and the Orange, political unionism and loyalism need to spell it out to local people what the ramifications of that are.

Joe Marley, CARA

"It was positive to hear the Orange Order come out and say they want people to abide by the Parades Commission determination.

"It's a positive step in the right direction, but there needs to be more of it."

The Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective has called off its planned protest for the Twelfth morning on the Crumlin Road.

Spokesman Dee Fennell added: "We are hoping for a peaceful Twelfth, we have withdrew our right to protest in order to create conditions that will allow for talks to take place.

"We have appealed directly to all the loyal orders individually to talk about the alternative route and talk about solutions to this problem in the area and that offer remains open."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Joe in Co Down wrote (206 days ago):
Keep up the good work Drew Nelson your making sectarian fools out of the Orange leadership without any help from Nationalists. Larry, Mo & Curly sorry Peter, Mike & Jim are right behind you.
Snowy in Ardoyne, Ireland wrote (206 days ago):
Do they know where Twaddle is? they will probably need directions
henry in ireland wrote (206 days ago):
who cares how senior they are, in the world i live in they hold no rank or no influence in how i live or go about my daily life no matter how they try, if others chose to ponder round these self apointed leaders of whatever then thats their choice but please dont think for one moment that they hold any powers over me my thinking and my beliefs
Mark in Belfast wrote (206 days ago):
Only taken the head muppets a year to show their solidarity ! They really are a sad bunch.
Joe in Belfast wrote (206 days ago):
Unionists need a leader who will lead them to an open and better future for all its citizens and one that leaves the past in the past in day to day living but respects the past and traditions for both sides and not just Orangemen.
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