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Orange Order must seek future without contentious parades

4 July, 2004


Commenting after the annual Drumcree Parade passed off peacefully this morning Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd said that 'the Orange Order had to start preparing for a future without trying to force unwanted parades through nationalist areas'.

Mr. O'Dowd said:

" This morning's parade passed off peacefully but only after nationalist residents in Portadown had to endure two days of virtual military siege. There are thousands of Orange Order parades each year in the six counties, a number which is growing year on year. Only a very small number are contentious. Nobody is trying to stop the Orange Order marching.

" But what we are saying is that it is time that the Order started preparing for a future without trying to force unwanted parades through nationalist areas. By changing the main Orange Parade in Belfast away from Edenderry the Order have conceded that there is no such thing as a traditional route which cannot be amended to deal with new realities. They need now to apply that principle across the board.

" Dialogue is required to find a resolution to issues around parades. But the Orange Order has to accept that in a small number of cases a resolution will mean no parade. That has to be the way forward." ENDS

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