Dialogue and agreement only way forward for contentious parades
Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel Mclaughlin has this morning led a party delegation to meet with the Parades Commission to discuss a number of contentious parades across the Six Counties.
Mr McLaughlin was joined by party colleagues Gerry Kelly MLA, Francie Brolly MLA, Councillor Tom Hartley, Dara O'Hagan and Sue Ramsey.
Speaking today Mr McLaughlin said:
"Today's meeting was at our request and dealt with a number of contentious parades across the six counties. I raised with the Commission the example provided by the process of dialogue which was put in place in Derry and has led to the successful agreement on the conduct of the 12th parade in that city.
"Orange parades pushed through Catholic areas are anti-Catholic and inherently offensive. If the Orange Order is insisting that they want to march in areas were they are clearly not welcome then they must listen to and deal with the concerns being expressed by the host community. The Orange Order must as a whole move away from the confrontational approach which they have adopted in areas outside Derry and enter into a process of dialogue with local nationalist communities.
"We made it clear to the Parades Commission today that the situation of republicans policing and dealing with the aftermath of bad decisions on parades is no longer tenable. This point has become particularly stark with the recent arrest of Sean Kelly.
"Sinn Féin will obviously do all in our power to see a peaceful marching season. But the parading issue can only be resolved through meaningful and genuine dialogue between the Orange Order and the communities through which they seek to march." ENDS