27/04/2006

Head of Community Relations Council to chair parades talks

Representatives of the Orange Order have met nationalist residents in west Belfast to hold discussions over contentious parades.

Members from the Parades Forum met with residents from the Springfield Road area of west Belfast and the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, to try and come up with a solution to prevent rioting in the areas over the marching season, after violence erupted between rival factions last year.

As a result of today's talks, it is understood that the head of the Community Relations Council, Duncan Morrow, has agreed to chair future talks in west Belfast.

Speaking earlier, Mr Morrow said that it was a vital piece of the peace process to ensure that the marching issue is resolved and added that he was ware that “major difficulties” still lay ahead.

He continued by saying that all parties involved seemed willing to engage in talks and said that he feels that this “is a very positive sign”.

It is understood that last year's Whiterock parade ran up a bill of approximately £3 million in order to cover policing costs.

The violence erupted after the march was refused permission to pass through security gates on the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

(EF)

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