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Gerry Adams confirms Loyal Order letters

25 May, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA is in Cork and Waterford over the next couple of days for a series of party engagements. Speaking from Cork today, Mr Adams confirmed that he wrote to the leaders of the four loyal orders early in May asking to meet with them on the issue of parades and commemorations.

Mr. Adams said:

"I wrote to the leaders of the four loyal orders in early May offering to meet with them and to be briefed on their view of the parades and commemorations issue. I wrote to them again this year because the marching season will soon be in full swing and Sinn Fein's goal is to ensure a peaceful summer.

"We have worked at this in the host communities for many years now and with some considerable success. I felt meetings between myself and the leaders of the various orders could be very helpful in this respect.

"Each year the Loyal Orders organise and hold thousands of parades and commemorations across the north, as well as several in County Donegal. Sinn Fein supports the right of the Loyal Orders to organise these events. But we also support the rights of local communities. The Loyal Orders should speak to them and seek their support for marches. In this way the issues around a small number of contentious parades can be resolved.

"The fact is that the vast majority of these parades pass off peacefully. But there are some - a small number - which give rise each year to difficulties.

"A dialogue between the Loyal Orders and Sinn Féin would be of benefit in helping to create a better context in which these matters can be resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned. I received only one acknowledgement and that was from the Imperial Grand Black Chapter." ENDS

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