Belfast Telegraph

Twaddell Initiative no substitute for talks say Sinn Fein

By Rebecca Petticrew

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has hit out at the Orange Order's 'Twaddell Initiative', saying there should be "no preconditions to dialogue".

The Sinn Fein representative was responding to a statement from the Order released on Sunday (September 29), saying the time is right to address the "unique" situation and resolve the "impasse" at Twaddell Avenue – a situation they say was created by a Parades Commission determination refusing to allow Orangemen to parade past Ardoyne on their return from Twelfth of July demonstrations.

Nightly protest parades have taken place at the north Belfast street and a loyalist protest camp, deemed a "civil rights camp" by its participants and supporters, was set up following the decision.

The Order has now applied to complete its July 12 parade on Saturday October 5, with the three Ligoniel Lodges and two bands banned from the Crumlin Road on 12th July taking part.

The Order say they will "immediately" engage with Ardoyne residents in "full and open" discussions regarding next year's marching season if the parade is allowed.

"A few moments of tolerance on a quiet Saturday morning can move the situation forward and create a positive platform, both for the 2014 parades and the Haass talks," they added.

Mr Kelly said :"There should be no preconditions to dialogue surrounding any resolution to the parading issues. What needs to happen is direct dialogue, without preconditions in place, between the local residents and the Orange Order. This has been and remains the best way to reach agreement based on mutual respect."

NI Conservatives' spokesman, Trevor Ringland, welcomed the Orange Order's offer. "The Orange Order is doing the responsible thing by offering full and frank discussions with Ardoyne residents. However all parties also need to continue be responsible, by respecting whatever decision the Parades Commission reaches on the proposed march next weekend, which has been made a precondition for talks. Problems around parades are not unsolvable, even in flashpoint areas, like north Belfast. The key is being prepared to share our communities with others and being prepared to show respect. That has to be the basis of a lasting solution for all sides."

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