Belfast Telegraph

Orange chaplain to join Haass talks

By Rebecca Petticrew

A SENIOR member of the Orange Order Rev Mervyn Gibson will take part in the upcoming Haass negotiations as part of the DUP delegation.

Rev Gibson will join Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who is also an Orangeman.

The east Belfast minister is an unexpected delegate, given that he is not a member of any political party.

The DUP say Rev Gibson was chosen by the party because of his expertise on parading, a source told the Belfast Telegraph.

Rev Gibson, who is Grand Chaplain of the Orange Order, has been outspoken in his criticism of the parades commission and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott over their handling of issues around parading this summer.

It has been suggested that his presence on the DUP's behalf indicates the party will not accept any resolution on the issues raised at the talks which do not satisfy the Orange Order.

The five-party talks chaired by former US diplomat Richard Haass will take place on September 16 and will cover issues such as parading, flags and emblems as well as dealing with the past.

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