Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

DUP and Orange Order to hold talks on parades legislation

Talks are to take place between the DUP and Orange Order after its Grand Lodge voted against draft legislation on parading.

The proposals — which would lead to the Parades Commission being scrapped — were defeated by 37 votes to 32 earlier this week.

Details of the legislation had been agreed by the DUP and Sinn Fein following the Hillsborough Agreement.

It is understood the DUP believes the proposals need Orange Order backing.

Although the proposals were defeated, the margin was close.

There were also four abstentions, with senior figures including Grand Lodge Secretary Drew Nelson not present.

Speaking yesterday, DUP Assembly member Edwin Poots said he believes a solution involving the loyal orders can still be found.

And in a thinly veiled reference to the UUP, Mr Poots accused other politicians of “using” the Orange Order for their own ends.

“They want to use and abuse the Orange Order and put them in a worse position, simply to get one up on the DUP,” he said.

Assistant Grand Master and Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry had described Tuesday’s vote as a “welcome decision”.

The Order has said it will meet soon to discuss the vote and look at the code of conduct which is out for consultation until September.

In a statement on Wednesday, it said it was not prepared to accept the draft law — which the DUP and Sinn Fein could still push through the Assembly — “in its present form”.

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