Belfast Telegraph

Adams offers to meet Orange Order

Gerry Adams has offered to meet the Orange Order to discuss parades in Northern Ireland.

The Sinn Fein president promised change as he delivered the key address of his party's annual ard fheis in Wexford.

And he said issues like an Irish language act, a bill of rights and the building of a peace centre at the Maze/ Long Kesh former prison site were not going away.

"These issues will be resolved. So too will issues of identity and contentious Orange parades," he said.

"While there may be obstacles, be sure of one thing - change will not be stopped.

"I am happy to meet with the Orange Order at any time to discuss these matters."

Dealing with contentious parades was one issue which former US diplomat Richard Haass failed to reach agreement on last year.

Mr Adams, Louth TD, said he wanted to see the Orange Order treating its Catholic neighbours with respect.

"I want to see it upholding law and order," he added.

"The Orange Order of Ireland is one of our national traditions.

"Orange is one of our country's national colours.

"And Sinn Fein wants all our traditions freed up from sectarianism from any quarter, to live together in peace and respect and with tolerance from everyone for everyone.

"The tide of history is with those who seek to build a peaceful and inclusive future. And Ireland, north and south, is changing."

The party leader said the left wing of Irish politics needed to unite.

"If we are serious about changing this country, the left needs to come together around viable alternative policies and take on the conservative establishment, who brought the economy to its knees and created the toxic culture that we are trying to break free from," he said.

"The conservatives, the right wingers consistently unite around their issues.

"Those of us who have a different vision - a progressive, rights-based vision must do the same."

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