Belfast Telegraph

Orange Order rejects parades moratorium proposal

BY NOEL MCADAM

The Orange Order and unionist politicians have rejected a call from the body representing rank-and-file police officers for a six-month freeze on contentious parades.

The province's main marching organisation called the proposal "untenable and unrealistic" and said it would only hinder the present situation further.

And the DUP, which has revived a template for handling parades agreed with Sinn Fein three years ago, said the suggestion could not provide a long-term solution and might not even reduce problems in the short-term.

The rebuff came after the Police Federation said a six-month moratorium could provide the talks being chaired by American diplomat Richard Haass a breathing space to attempt to find a solution to the problem of parades.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Whilst it might be possible to understand the motivation behind calling for a six-month ban on contentious parades, this will not provide a long-term solution and it may not even reduce problems in the short-term."

And he again blamed republicans for the protracted violence in Belfast city centre on Friday evening.

"Dissident republicans staged a deliberately provocative parade," he said.

The Grand Orange Lodge, which hopes the Haass talks will result in the demise of the Parades Commission, said: "...the banning of Loyal Order parades is an unrealistic and untenable suggestion.

"Such a proposal would serve to only hinder the situation further and distract from the urgent need to abolish this unelected quango."

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