Villiers attends Ardoyne meetings

Published Tuesday, 22 July 2014
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Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has held separate meetings with unionist and Orange Order leaders, and Sinn Féin over a proposal for a commission of inquiry into the disputed parade at Ardoyne.

Unionist leaders had called for a body to examine the issues around controversial march, the return route of which was banned for a second year from passing an interface area on the Crumlin Road on 12 July.

Last week, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds called upon Ms Villiers to "listen" on the issue as parading falls under her remit as Secretary of State.

Unionist politicians walked out of talks on contentious issues at Stormont at the beginning of the month over the parades watchdog's ruling.

A series of demonstrations were held as part of the Twelfth Orange parades against the restriction, but the day passed off peacefully after calls for non-violent protest.

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, has condemned the inquiry request and stressed that decisions over parading lies with the Parades Commission, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of State.

This was the message reiterated by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who met with Ms Villiers on Tuesday ahead of the Unionist meeting.

He said: "The type of inquiry that is being proposed by the Unionists is a nonsense in my view.

"The situation at Ardoyne isn't going to be resolved by them cobbling together an agreement for an inquiry with Theresa Villiers, to the exclusion of everybody else.

"That's not the way this process has moved successfully over the course of the last 20 years."

Mr McGuinness said that it needed to be a process that everybody could sign up to.

After the Unionist meeting, First Minister Peter Robinson said: "Let's be very clear - we want to get cross community support for this kind of proposition.

"It doesn't fully work unless there is. There is no point in setting up a commission only to talk to Unionists.

"So let's be very clear - this isn't one-sided. Let's dispel this thought.

"The deputy First Minister is wrong if he thinks that's our intention. Let me make it clear - we want to have a fair outcome on Ligoniel. We're not looking for a one sided approach."

© UTV News
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42 Comments
Mark in Belfast wrote (87 days ago):
To all politicians - Please stop wasting our time with these pointless wrangles about stupid parades and nonsense commissions and endless enquiries. We want to move on, not continue to be stuck in the past because of the egos of some increasingly irrelevant and out of touch old men and religious fundamentalists. We want to prosper - stop holding us back! You are destroying OUR future. You are destroying any hope we have for raising our families in peace.
julie in antrim wrote (88 days ago):
Mark in Belfast your comment made me smile about the magic roundabout scenario Wonder which one is Dougal, Brian, Zebetti and Florence and the rest to follow
Julie in antrim wrote (88 days ago):
John - loved your comment but which one is Judas
Dessie in San Francisco wrote (89 days ago):
To think the DUP kept saying over and over again we will never work with terrorists.
James in Boyne Valley wrote (89 days ago):
Looks like they are all at this table to plan fighting the Battle of the Boyne all over again. Some things never change.
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