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Parades Commission must face down Orange threats - Gerry Kelly

23 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has today said that the "Parades Commission must resist pressure from the Orange Order over contentious parades through areas where they are clearly unwanted".

Mr Kelly was joined at today's meeting with the Parades Commission by party colleagues South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey and West Belfast Councillor Tom Hartley.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Kelly said:

"We met the Parades Commission this morning to talk about a number of specific parades, including the one in Ardyone last Friday night and the forthcoming Whiterock parade this Saturday. We told the Parades Commission that the Orange Order needed to be stood up to. We raised our concerns that last year's initial decision was overturned to allow the march through Workman Avenue.

"We impressed upon the Parades Commission that the Orange Order are anti-nationalist, anti-agreement and anti-dialogue. I have listened to some of the recent remarks from parade organisers who are clearly intent on stirring up trouble. I made the point that last Friday's parade in Ardoyne was an absolute disaster which can only feed into the difficulties around the 12th of July, and indeed the Whiterock parade. In addition, the interning of Sean Kelly has affected the whole atmosphere of these contentious parades in North Belfast." ENDS

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