Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has renewed his appeal for a meeting with the Orange Order.
The latest letter from Mr Adams calling for a meeting with Robert Saulters, the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, emerged after Mr Saulters revealed he had been in communication with the Sinn Fein leader.
He made the disclosure at a meeting of the Grand Lodge in Cavan on Saturday — the first time it has met in the Republic. Mr Saulters said that Mr Adams wrote to him some months ago requesting information on the Order. Mr Saulters said he replied, sending Mr Adams some literature.
But Mr Adams, who met with Officers of the Portadown District LOL No 1 of Portadown Orangemen earlier this year, last night said he had sent a second letter renewing the request for a meeting.
“It is and always has been the Sinn Fein position that the issue of parading can only be resolved through dialogue between the loyal orders and communities.
“Sinn Fein supports the right of the loyal orders to organise and to hold parades and commemorations. However, where parades are contentious the right to march is conditional on agreement by local residents.
“While Mr Saulters acknowledged receipt of my letter and sent some literature, however he did not agree to meet. Consequently a letter to him in late July again suggested a meeting. I await his response to this request.”
Orange sources have indicated the meeting is unlikely to take place.
About 120 senior Orangemen attended the Co Cavan Orange Hall at the weekend, the Grand Lodge being the governing body, meeting four times a year.
They were welcomed by the Cavan County Grand Master Henry Latimer who said it was a wonderful day for Orangemen in the Republic.
The Orange Order claims it has 50 lodges in nine counties south of the border. One of its biggest parades of the year is held in Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal.