'Knee-jerk reaction' on parades not enough

Published Sunday, 06 July 2014
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A senior member of the Orange Order has said that there has been realisation by themselves and Unionist politicians that a "knee-jerk" reaction to parade determinations is not enough.

Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said that the response should last longer than just the duration of the annual marching season.

He was speaking at the annual church service at Drumcree, in Portadown, Co Armagh, where members have been caught up in a dispute over restrictions on a parade passing up the nationalist Garvaghy Road since 1998.

Mr Nelson said: "We are now in a new situation where there is a realisation throughout the Loyal Orders and unionist political leadership that a knee-jerk reaction over the parading season is not enough.

"I therefore expect that the unionist and loyalist family's reaction will continue well after the parading season has finished and will spread into the sphere of politics and governance."

On Saturday, in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, Ireland Grand Master Edward Stevenson announced that an emergency meeting of all County Grand and District Masters in Northern Ireland had been called to decide how they will respond to the restricting of a parade in north Belfast.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday.

Highlighting other parades that continue to be restricted - including Dunloy, Rasharkin, Dungiven - Mr Nelson said: "It is therefore abundantly clear that the nationalist and republican political leaderships merely pay lip service to the concept of shared space and a shared society."

"Indeed, when the Loyal Orders put that aspiration of shared space to the test, we are in fact demonised by nationalist and republican leaders and sent to the 'naughty corner' by the inept Parades Commission," he said.

"This year's misguided decisions by the Commission have brought into sharp focus their unwillingness to stand up to persistent threats of physical force protest, or indeed violence, by nationalists and republicans opposed to our parades.

"Whatever the outcome of our deliberations as an Institution, I would again underline that any actions must be both lawful and peaceful. Our traditions are dear to us and are only undermined by violence."

 

Meanwhile, residents group GARC have issued a statement saying they are calling off their planned protest in Ardoyne, north Belfast on the Twelfth morning.

The statement read: "GARC remain willing to meet and talk with the Loyal Orders directly or indirectly, individually or collectively, to give our analysis and to listen to that of others.

"With this in mind, and following intensive community consultation since this year's determinations were made public, we have decided to withdraw plans for a mass mobilisation to oppose the 12th morning parade.

"This will help contribute to what we hope will be a conflict free 12th of July, that will lead to a conducive environment for talks in coming weeks around securing the use of the Harmony Lane route.

"However, we will have a number of residents present at the 12th morning parade to monitor for any breaches of the Parades Commission determination."

© UTV News
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21 Comments
The Future in England wrote (16 days ago):
Owen has got it right and may I say its time my government stated this,,, As Northern Ireland has and will be changing all nationalist celebrations and union celebrations will take place at a designated park in a zone prominently of that persuasion (all welcome} then we will all respect each other and when your not being winded up you start to chill out,, that's what I would do remember your children emulate the so called grown ups,
simon in holywood wrote (16 days ago):
over 90% percent of marches are not opposed so compromise has already been met, the oo meet to stop pursuing the contentious parades and we can all live happily ever after
Wendy in Garvaghy Road wrote (17 days ago):
I would gladly see the orange order pass up this road and get it over and done with instead of living in a world of hatred and division, as for ardoyne i think our people should let them up the road itll then put an end to weekly parades in which they have to listen to on a weekly basis, we are making this situation worse for ourselves.
Co. Down in Co. Down wrote (17 days ago):
Again the parades commission makes the mistake of not letting them walk home. They are causing more trouble by stopping them frim returning then there would be if they were allowed back. LET THEM HOME!
Jim in Carrickfergus wrote (17 days ago):
Residents on the ground on the 12th morning to monitor for breaches what a load of rubbish so they feel the need not to protest but a need to police it.What we have then is a protest but it just goes under the name of monitoring
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