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Call For Loyal Orders to reduce sectarianism through action on Parades

10 May, 2006

Commenting on yesterday's statement from the Loyal Orders condemning the murder of Michael McIlveen, Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP said that the Orders had it in their gift to greatly reduce tensions over the summer months by voluntarily re-routing the very small number of parades which seek to parade through areas where they are not wanted or at a minimum engaging with nationalist communities.

Mr Doherty said:

"This time last year we publicly flagged up our fears that the Orange Order had taken a decision for political reasons to heighten tensions around the marching season. Unfortunately our predictions came through and the Order was linked to widespread violence, intimidation and terror. Sectarian tensions were raised to levels not seen for some years. No right thinking person wishes to see a repeat performance from the Orange Order this summer.

"I note the statement of the Orange Order condemning the brutal sectarian murder of Michael McIlveen in Ballymena and a commitment to reduce sectarianism. However the Loyal Orders have it in their own gift to greatly reduce sectarian tensions during the course of their marching season. The Loyal Orders should proceed as normal with the thousands of parades which are non-contentious but to think seriously about voluntarily re-routing the very small number of marches which cause offence and raise tensions by seeking to parade through communities where they are not wanted or at a minimum engage with the representatives of those areas.

"Such a move would undoubtedly improve community relations and significantly increase hopes that we can proceed through the summer months without the fear associated with past summers and without raising sectarian tensions further in the wake of this brutal murder." ENDS

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