Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Orange Order 'raising tensions' with protests

Orange Order leaders have been accused of increasing tensions in Portadown by doubling their weekly protest parades over the Drumcree dispute.

The first of the additional mid-week marches is due to take place this week - and every Wednesday thereafter until the impasse is resolved. But the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition said the move lessened any prospect of talks in the foreseeable future.

Coalition spokesman Breandan MacCionnaith said: "We keep hearing from politicians and church leaders that people do not want to turn the clock back to the past but the message does not seem to be getting through to Portadown District Lodge. The only thing this new parade will achieve is to heighten tensions."

Mr MacCionnaith said a faith-based group of Protestants had been allowed to return to Drumcree Church of Ireland via Garvaghy Road on Good Friday, without any local protest.

Portadown district master Darryl Hewitt said the decision to stage another weekly protest was the result of Parades Commission chairman Mr Osborne's suggestion the lodge reconsider its Sunday marches.

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