Brazil trip off amid parade concerns

Brazil trip off amid parade concerns

First Minister Peter Robinson has said he is so concerned about Twelfth parade tensions he has cancelled two planned trips to remain in Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader was supposed to be travelling to Brazil in July on a business mission alongside Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, however the visit now appears to be off.Mr Robinson said the recent decision by the Parades Commission not to allow an Orange Order march to pass the Ardoyne shops interface in north Belfast has "sent out a bad message".While the parade passed off peacefully on 7 June, the First Minister told UTV he is "very concerned" that tensions could spill over into trouble next month.He said: "I'm getting reports back that, as a result of the Parades Commission's ludicrous decision to cave in to the threat of violence, they have sent out a very bad message to the community."What they are effectively saying is whoever has the biggest stick to wield is the one we'll give in to and that indicates there will be a lot of anger and the tension is such that it can spill over."For that reason I have put off two trips I was supposed to do during the course of July because of my concern of where the situation might be on the ground."Mr Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had been expected to go to Brazil to develop trade links, after being invited by business leaders in the South American country.Following the comments, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has urged the DUP to engage "immediately" in talks to deal with flags, parades and the past.Mr Kelly said: "The talks involving the party leaders need to proceed immediately and urgently."It is essential that we put our own house in order so that we become a more attractive option for foreign investors."If Peter Robinson is serious he should now seriously engage in dealing with these toxic issues."Brazil trip - my family more than happy.Better to talk - better still to agree a way forward on the past, parades & identity.#Peace— Martin McGuinness (@M_McGuinness_SF) June 18, 2014


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