Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Teresa Villiers to meet Peter Robinson over parades

Meeting: Theresa Villiers

The First Minister will meet the Secretary of State on Tuesday to press her to set up a special commission on parading along the Crumlin Road.

It is part of the response by the unionist leaders and the loyal orders after the Parades Commission banned Orange lodges from Ligoniel from passing the Ardoyne shops on a parade on the evening of July 12.

Mr Robinson acknowledged that the proposal was originally put forward by the Belfast Telegraph and drew on ideas in the very Parades Commission determination he objected to.

He said: "It would be useful if what I can refer to as the Belfast Telegraph/Unionist leaders joint proposal was acceptable, that would be a good way forward."

He added: "I think it is a reasonable proposition and I notice that even the Parades Commission in their determination indicated that there were a range of issues they were being asked to deal with which were cultural and political beyond their scope. If that is the case then let's have a body set up which can look at those matters and everyone can have their say."

He argued "it could well have lessons for any wider consideration of flags, parading and the past and I am linking it to that".

Ms Villiers, the Secretary of State, said she will give the idea careful consideration.

She stated: "Much of this seems to flow from the determination of the Parades Commission. They made some very reasonable points about having a managed, structured way, to bring people together in North Belfast.

"I think these proposals, whether they are from the Belfast Telegraph, the Parades Commission or the leaders of unionism, need to be reflected on carefully."

She added: "I won't make a decision before speaking to others, especially the Parades Commission and the Deputy First Minister."

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