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Adams - concern at Orange Order refusal to adhere to Parades Commission ruling on Whiterock march

25 June, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in Cork this morning expressed concern at the Orange Order decision to heighten tensions by refusing to adhere to the determination of the Parades Commission over today's planned march in Whiterock. Mr. Adams is in Cork to address a party event to celebrate Cead Bliain Sinn Féin.

Mr Adams said:

"Sinn Féin TDs, MPs and MEPs met in Dublin yesterday, our first meeting since last month's Westminster elections, to begin preparations for the next General Elections, to discuss efforts to re-build the peace process and our concerns over attempts by the Orange Order to increase tensions around a number of marches.

"More than 3000 Loyal Order parades will take place this year in the Six counties. Only a small number are deemed contentious. Others are welcomed by unionist communities and many are simply tolerated by nationalists.

"The most effective way in which contentious parades can be resolved is through a meaningful and direct engagement between the Loyal orders and the nationalist communities which they are seeking to march through.

"The Orange Order must realise however that it is not simply a case of entering into dialogue and being rewarded by a parade. The Orange Order must accept any discussions have to be open to resolutions, which may involve compromises.

"In this context the decision of the Parades Commission to re-route today's Whiterock parade is the correct one. However the Orange Order have in recent days embarked upon a dangerous strategy of heightening tensions and threatening violence. This atmosphere has not been helped by the decision of the British Secretary of State Peter Hain to intern Sean Kelly.

"Republicans and particularly republican ex-prisoners have provided a leadership role in these types of situations in the past. Many are now questioning whether they should provide this role in the future given the experience of Sean Kelly's arrest.

"However Republicans want to see a peaceful summer, the Sinn Féin leadership want to see a peaceful summer and we will continue to do all in our power to allow communities to live peacefully free from sectarian harassment and violence. But others including the Orange Order, the Parades Commission and the British government have a major role to play also." ENDS

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