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SF react to Orange Order rejection of Parades proposals

7 July, 2010 - by John O'Dowd

Reacting to reports that the Orange Order has rejected the new proposals on Parades currently going through the Assembly, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd said:

“These proposals are about trying to improve the current framework for dealing with the issue of contentious parades. It is our belief that this is what will be achieved by the end of the legislative process. No doubt this reality is the rational behind the position the Order have adopted. This legislation is solely about the issue of contentious parades and related protests and not about Trade Unions, Churches or other gatherings.

“What the Orange Order need to do is wake up and realise that they no longer pull the strings. The days of the Orange Order dictating policy are over. The days of the Orange State have gone. This legislation came about as the result of a political agreement between elected parties. It is now going through the legislative process in the Assembly, including the consultation period. That is how is should be, not decided in the backroom of some Orange Hall. The fact that the Orange Order has not even made a submission to the consultation shows the contempt they have for the normal democratic process.

“It seems that at every opportunity the Orange Order deliberately seek to raise tensions around parades. They insist on marching through a small number of areas were they are not wanted. They refuse to talk to Sinn Féin. They join forces with the British far right to oppose the papal visit to England. And now on the verge of the Twelfth they reject the new framework. All of this flies in the face of ongoing work to maintain calm over the summer months.

“It is high time the Orange Order dealt with the new political realities here. It is time they made their contribution to the development of the peace process. It is time that they stopped holding society here to ransom summer after summer.” ENDS

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