Villiers 'needs to listen' on Ardoyne

Published Monday, 14 July 2014
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DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said the Secretary of State "needs to listen" to unionist proposals for a Commission of Inquiry into a disputed Orange parade when they meet next week.

This year's Twelfth passed off peacefully at the weekend, after unionist calls for non-violent protest against a Parades Commission decision to restrict the Ligoniel Lodges from passing an interface in north Belfast on their return route.

Last Thursday, a delegation of unionist leaders and senior Orangemen said they were calling for a probe into the situation.

DUP leader Peter Robinson had said the action was part of a "graduated response" to the ruling.

On Monday, north Belfast MP Nigel Dodds commended those involved in the Twelfth who made it "quiet and peaceful" while also demonstrating people's "anger and frustration against the Parade's Commission's unjust ruling".

"We have a meeting scheduled with the Secretary of State who has agreed to meet the unionist leadership and the Orange Order to discuss our proposals for a Commission of Inquiry," he said.

"The Secretary of State has already reacted positively that she is prepared to consider practical options and I think that that's a move forward, we will take forward our proposals because I think that what we have seen with the Parades Commission hasn't worked and the denial of tolerance and respect to one side of the community cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely, so we will want to explore the various options with the Secretary of State."

Mr Dodds said that there has been "an enormous amount of engagement" between unionists and nationalists as well as between the Orange Order and residents.

He added: "However is a willingness on the republican side to have a tolerance and respect for the six minutes it would take to have a parade - everything else has been discussed, the music, supporters, timings, numbers, it will come down to whether tolerance and respect is available to the unionist community."

He said that the Secretary of State "is responsible for parading and she needs to listen".

However, Sinn Féin MLA for north Belfast, Gerry Kelly said that there is "no need for a Commission of Inquiry".

"The Secretary of State should not interfere with a body which has already been set up," he said.

"The unionists have been against the Parades Commission from the very start. They want to go back to the bad old days of unregulated parades, they want to have their own decisions about these parades and they want to coat-tail through, frankly nationalist and Catholic districts and we're not returning to that.

"The British Secretary of State should not give them any credibility whatsoever."

Mr Kelly added that unionist leaders had walked away from talks at Stormont earlier in the month that had been looking at how to deal with parades.

He said: "We need to return to talk, it is a local issue, the Orange needs to return to the talks."

© UTV News
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76 Comments
martin in belfast wrote (13 days ago):
start charging the organisers for policing and clean up of twaddel
JJ in Belfast wrote (15 days ago):
Ah Nigel you really just want back to majority rule, wont happen in this province and anyway dont wish too much because if it did then by the next generation SF and the SDLP would be in the majority. Then no more orange parades .
Piggy in the Middle wrote (15 days ago):
Loyalists have got exactly what they signed up for, 50/50 compromise, one way up the Shankill is exactly that, as are constraints on other parades in the North etc. This province is too small for such a BIG divide in tollerance, the status quo will HAVE to change, if u cant accept that then u are part of the problem.
Orange order in Last century wrote (15 days ago):
any single person they get who would be from outside the UK or Ireland will say the same thing: Do not march an anti-catholic parade through a Catholic area. its not rocket science!
Irish Christian in England in England wrote (16 days ago):
I am no supporter of Sinn Fein, but it actually makes me laugh out loud when I see comments about how Sinn Fein should not sit in Government in Northern Ireland. Your clearly all blinded by Peter Robinsons halo......not to patronise, but for those that don't know too much about Peter, please educate yourself on; Invasion of Clontibret and the Ulster Resistance. He is no angel. Personally I wouldn't know who to vote for if I still lived back home, but Sinn Fein represent a lot of people in the North, and the sooner that is accepted the better. These people are not going to just disappear in to thin air, and they have every right to vote for who they want and to be represented. I am all for people celebrating their culture, but these same people who are crying out for their marches and culture to be respected, have to pay show the same respect to the peoples houses/churches they are walking past. This year is thee only year I can remember in my lifetime where the twelfth passing so peacefully - well done to all involved on BOTH sides.
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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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