Time for Orange Order to make its contribution to Peace Process — Adams
Speaking to the media in Dublin today where he attended a meeting of the party’s Ard Comhairle, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:
“The address by Orange Order Grand Secretary, Drew Nelson to the Seanad last week, like the historic recent meeting between Martin McGuinness and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, was an important step in the process of national reconciliation.
“These steps must now be built upon in practical ways that make life better for citizens.
“Every year, communities in the North are held to ransom by a small number of contentious Orange parades.
“I suspect that many decent Orangemen would far prefer people were talking about the many parades that pass without incident rather than about the scenes of violence surrounding a minority of parades.
“This won’t happen while we get situations such as that in North Belfast. There the Orange Order bussed marchers along part of the route where a parade is welcomed to parade through an area where it is not. There is no rationale for the return parade past Ardoyne.
“A few short miles away in Crumlin Village the Orange Order sat down with a local residents and came to an agreement on the parade. Ardoyne residents have been waiting over 15 years for a similar type of dialogue with the Orange Order.
“The GARC parade along the Crumlin road was also a mistake. It resulted in a rise in sectarian tensions and introduced more parades into a situation where residents in Ardoyne want to see less.
“The Orange Order needs to step forward and make their contribution to the Peace Process. That means dialogue with residents. It also means dialogue with Sinn Féin.
“I have written to the Orange Order many times over the years seeking a meeting. I repeat that call again today. The work to prevent a repeat of this week's violence must begin now.”