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Orange lodge suspends its Twaddell Avenue protest in north Belfast

Published 06/08/2016

The loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast
The loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast

One of the Orange lodges involved in the parading impasse at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast is to suspend its protest

In a statement issued to media last night, Ballysillan LOL 1981 said: "We are left with no option but to suspend our protest."

However the other two lodges involved with the dispute are believed to be committed to continuing the protest which has cost the public purse millions of pounds.

Last night's decision to suspend comes after discussions between a local residents group and protesters ended when Balysillan LOL 1981 rejected a proposed deal.

The Ballysillan lodge said last night: "For our lodge this has always been about securing our human rights and we thank all those who have given their time and money.

"The linkage of funding to this deal is of significant concern; this was about human rights not money.

"CARA's rejection of it in the face of GARC (Greater Ardoyne Residents' Committee) criticism demonstrates their inability to deliver.

"The latest failed initiative took place without our knowledge or participation, in fact GARC knew about it before the Ligoniel lodges.

"The agreement was presented in different ways to the Ligoniel lodges and the Ardoyne residents on the issue of future return parades.

"The secrecy, misrepresentations of the deal and breach of faith by those involved in the failed initiative leave us in a very difficult situation. In the absence of honesty and good faith by others we are left with no option but to suspend our protest."

The County Grand Lodge of Belfast said it respects the decision but made clear the wider protest would continue.

"The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast notes the public comments of Ballysillan LOL 1891 and respects their decision to suspend their participation in any further protests regarding securing a homeward parade along the Crumlin Road," said a spokesman.

"However the protest will continue until a resolution is found. There will be no further public comment by the Orange Institution on this development."

Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said in a statement: "While residents will be thankful that the hate camp is to go, it is disgraceful that this criminal enterprise was facilitated by Stormont and the PSNI for over three years.

"In their statement Ballysillan LOL 1891 confirm a number of concerns that GARC raised about the Sinn Fein/UVF deal but which were denied by Sinn Fein to residents' faces on doorsteps and at their own public meeting.

"These include the alternative route not being discussed, the linkage between Springfield and Ardoyne 'deals', reward funding for Sinn Fein and UVF linked phantom groups and the planned exclusion of organisations central to this issue. This Orange lodge also recognises that Sinn Fein cannot deliver on an end to residents' protests as GARC will continue our protests.

"We would also guard against celebration. The UVF and Sinn Fein will remain determined to push ahead with their deal, one that GARC shall resist."

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