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Orange Order need to start preparing for the future

11 July, 2005


Commenting after the annual Drumcree Parade passed off peacefully yesterday 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 much inconvienience and only after the town centre was bedecked in sectarian bunting. 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. Last year the Order changed the main Orange Parade in Belfast away from the field at Edenderry to a new site. The Orange Order have therefore 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 may mean no parade. That has to be the way forward." ENDS

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