Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has urged the “Irish and British governments not to acquiesce to unionist threats. The governments must make it clear that they are intent on ensuring continuing progress. This has to include the two governments implementing agreements they have already made and which are their sole responsibility.”
Speaking this morning at the Dáil Gerry Adams TD said:
“The walk out by the unionist parties and their threat to pull down the political institutions is part of an escalating crisis within the political process in the north which has been going on for some time.
“The pretext for yesterday’s walkout, and a statement which was prepared in advance, is the Parades Commission’s ruling that an Orange feeder parade be allowed to pass Ardoyne on the morning of the 12th but not in the evening.
“Sinn Féin has been actively trying to focus the Irish and British governments on problems within the process for some time.
“At meetings in Washington I raised our concerns with the Obama Administration. A senior official, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, was in Ireland last week and has called for courageous leadership from all of the parties. Richard Haass made a similar call.
“Last week also Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and I met the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and outlined again our deep worries at the negativity coming from the unionist leaderships and the need for the governments to be champions for progress.
“This week we warned David Cameron that the political process in the north is deteriorating. We told him that the British and Irish governments, as co-equal guarantors of the Agreement, should not acquiesce to unionist threats and must ensure continuing progress and this has to include implementing agreements already made that are the sole responsibility of the two governments.”
The Sinn Féin leader added:
“Unionist leaders cannot divorce themselves from the likely consequences of their call for protests against the Ardoyne decision by the Parades Commission.
“The Twaddell protest has already cost the taxpayer over £9 million pounds to police in one year. This is on top of the £20 million that the flag protests cost to police in the first four months and the £15 million lost to Belfast businesses. The bill for policing illegal orange and loyalist parades and flag protests since then is significantly greater and the actions by the unionist leaderships will add to this.”
Note to Editor:
There are more loyalist and orange parades taking place each year than ever before. In 2005 there were 2120 marches in the north. By last year that had more than doubled to 4,637. Two thirds, or over 3,000 of these are loyalist parades. In the same period the number of orange bands has also doubled.
There are less than 200 parades that are broadly nationalist and non are contentious.
Claims that objections by a handful of nationalist areas to orange parades going through their communities is an attack on the Orange are clearly a nonsense.