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Portadown Order need to embrace new political realities

20 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Upper Bann Sinn Féin MLA John O Dowd has said that the Orange Order in Portadown need to embrace the new political realities following the progress of May 8th.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Portadown Orange men need to embrace the new beginning to politics and wider society offered by the events of May 8th and enter unconditional dialogue with their nationalists neighbours in Portadown.

"Orangemen have been everywhere and with anyone other than with those with which they need to reach an accommodation, that being their fellow towns people, the nationalist community of Portadown.

"Year on year we are told by the Orange of imminent talks; we are told that if only A, B or C would do as the Orangemen tell them then talks would materialise. They never outline what context and substance those talks would take and year on year the promised talks by the Orange do not materialise.

"This year it is the Parades Commissions fault, and I do not doubt the Commission led the Orange up the garden path. However, that is irrelevant and a diversion. The fact is as long as the Orange Order refuses to enter into unconditional talks without predetermined outcomes with their nationalist neighbours the garden path will be the only place they will be walking.

"The residents are on record, stating that they will enter unconditional talks with the Orange Order. The Orange need to enter unconditional talks with the residents. The outcome of those talks is a matter for both parties but it must be remembered as a result of such talks that no march is as a legitimate outcome as a march." ENDS

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