Belfast Telegraph

Tensions rise ahead of parade - SF

Sinn Fein says dissident republicans are raising tensions in Londonderry ahead of a major loyal order parade in the city.

The Apprentice Boys marching organisation will hold a major parade in Derry on August 14.

But Sinn Fein highlighted concerns over a so-called "feeder parade", where marchers on their way to Derry will pass the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, which witnessed three days of rioting after an Orange Order parade on July 12.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and North Belfast party colleague Gerry Kelly met the Parades Commission, which rules on parade routes, and said breathing space was required in Ardoyne to ease tensions over marches.

A Sinn Fein delegation led by Mr Adams held the party's first meeting with the North & West Belfast Parades Forum, including members of the Apprentice Boys, as part of wider talks on the issue of disputed parades.

Mr Kelly said: "We think that it (the August 14 march past Ardoyne) should not go down without the Apprentice Boys talking to the residents and that has not happened for some time now.

"These things are being used by certain other groups to 'wind up' the situation. People need space," he said.

He added: "The dissident groups are trying to use these issues."

Mr Kelly said he believed dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were also intent on raising tensions in Derry ahead of the annual Apprentice Boys events and he noted Tuesday's bomb attack in the city.

"They are trying to wind things up in Derry," he said.

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