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Kelly urges action by Parades Commission after Ardoyne compromise is offered

7 July, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has urged the Parades Commission to act decisively after the Ardoyne Dialogue Group offered a generous compromise to resolve the serious difficulties which now exist over the July 12th Orange parade through nationalist areas in North Belfast. Mr Kelly also revealed that Sinn Féin had requested that Dermot Ahern be present in North Belfast on July 12th.

Mr Kelly said:

" The decision of the Parades Commission to force these two parades through three nationalist areas in North Belfast has created an extremely volatile and dangerous situation. Despite the obvious anger that now exists within the nationalist community in Ardoyne the local residents have this morning offered a generous compromise arrangement which would if adopted significantly defuse tensions and assist the task of maintaining calm across the city.

" Local residents have this morning stated that they would facilitate a parade in the morning if the evening leg was re-routed away from nationalist homes. The Parades Commission and indeed the Orange Order have an obligation to act now on the back of this offer. This move has the potential to transform this situation and if accepted would obviously create a much better atmosphere for the Orange Order and local residents to engage in meaningful dialogue in the future to find a resolution of this issue."

Mr Kelly also revealed that Sinn Féin had contacted the Irish government to invite the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern to come to North Belfast on July 12th to observe the situation.

" Sinn Féin contacted the Irish government yesterday to request that the Minster Dermot Ahern come to North Belfast on July 12th to monitor and observe for himself the situation." ENDS

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