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Sinn Féin welcomes Orange Order engagement in Seanad

3 July, 2012 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin has welcomed the Orange Order address to the Seanad today and for the first time, its public engagement with a Sinn Féin representative.

Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon, Sinn Féin’s Seanad leader, David Cullinane, said this represented significant progress and he hoped it could provide a foundation for further engagement.

“In recent times, Republicans and the Orange Order have not had the depth of dialogue that is required. However, on the basis of engagements such as these, there is an opportunity to resolve that.

“We recognise that the Orange Order is a part of who we are as a nation and accept the right of the Order to parade and to promote its sense of identity. But this has to be on the basis of equality and tolerance.

“I welcome the Grand Secretary’s remarks that today’s event can act as a spring-board for the future.

“We are encouraging the Orange Order to enter a dialogue with all parties and communities. Not just with representatives of Sinn Féin, though that would be welcome, but also with the communities, and residents of the areas that the Orange Order marches through.

“There are some 3,000 Orange marches every year. All but a fraction pass off without dispute.

“Dealing with those particular marches is possible and the blueprint is there as we see from the Derry agreement.

"We have seen that from the peace process and indeed in the accommodation which was found with the Apprentice Boys in Derry as regards their march.

"Meaningful dialogue can bear fruit and we are confident that if all sides engaged that they would benefit from such a dialogue.”

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