05/07/2013

Orange Order Agrees To Nationalist Talks

The Orange Order has agreed to engage in talks with a nationalist residents group in north Belfast, following an appeal by a unionist residents group.

The Twaddell and Woodvale Residents Association asked local Orange lodges to speak to the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association to find a way to help the 12th of July parades pass off peacefully.

Trouble flared last year in north Belfast when a loyalist pipe band was filmed parading outside St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street while playing an anti-Catholic song about the Irish famine.

Now the Order says it will engage in discussions with local nationalist residents.

A statement said: "In response to this request and after numerous meetings, the three lodges concerned have agreed along with the local community to enter into direct talks with the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association.

"The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast respects and supports their Ligoniel lodges in this decision."

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said: "I welcome the announcement from the Orange Order that they will engage with local residents for direct talks.

"This development represents a major breakthrough and I hope that through dialogue and mutual respect we may be able to find a long term solution to the parading issue in this part of north Belfast."

(IT/CD)

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