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Resolving the contentious Orange Order parade in Ardoyne is not impossible – Gerry Kelly

13 July, 2012

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that resolving the contentious Orange Order parade in Ardoyne is not impossible.

The North Belfast MLA said:

“The bottom line with yesterday’s trouble in Ardoyne is that the Orange Order was intent on walking through an area where they are clearly not wanted.

“They had walked the same route in the morning and enjoyed their cultural and religious celebrations throughout the day so creating a contentious return parade through the nationalist Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales areas was unwarrented and provocative.

“We had the almost farcical situation where the Orange Order decide to bus marchers along the part of the route where their parade is welcomed in order to parade along the part of the route which goes through three areas where they are not welcome. In the end the residents of these areas had to deal with double the amount of parades and protests after GARC foolishly applied for a parade.

“Just a few miles away the Orange Order sat down with a local residents’ organisation in Crumlin village which allowed them to come to an agreement on the march. Residents in Ardoyne however have been waiting for over 15 years for the Orange Order to enter this type of dialogue.

“There is a resolution to this situation and dialogue is the way forward. We should not wait until next year before that talking begins. The Orange Order need to step up to the plate and engage with residents in face to face talks.

“Most people are relieved that we are not dealing with more injuries or casualties after a night in which a number of plastic bullets and live rounds were fired. The violence was wrong and has to be condemned.

“It is time the Orange Order took a good hard look at themselves. Their plan for an Orangefest festival is going nowhere until they grasp the issue of the very small number of contentious parades that remain.”

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