A war of words has broken out between the DUP and Sinn Fein just days after a new group was established to deal with contentious parades.
Upper Bann MLA Stephen Moutray has hit out at Gerry Adams after the republican leader said there would be no Orange feet on disputed routes without the residents’ consent.
The DUP member of the new parading body also accused Mr Adams of misrepresenting his own party’s sentiments during an interview published in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.
“The comment from Gerry Adams about ‘never’ having a parade down Garvaghy Road so long as the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition is opposed to it is distinctly unhelpful,” Mr Moutray said.
“Indeed, it would seem that Mr Adams is off-message from his own colleagues.
“The idea that sectarian groups can unilaterally decide who will walk on a particular road is a case of cultural apartheid.”
Mr Moutray — whose upper Bann constituency includes Portadown's Garvaghy Road, the scene of one of the most intractable of the province's parading disputes — was reacting to Mr Adams’ comments that the nationalist position on parades has not changed.
“There could be no parade down the Garvaghy Road unless the people of Garvaghy Road consent to it,” the Sinn Fein leader told this newspaper.
“The other one is the lower Ormeau. The same thing goes. Ardoyne is another contentious one. And Rasharkin, we need to have the same process.”
The six-person review panel set up by the Hillsborough Castle deal has just two weeks to come up with a workable way forward on reforming the current approach to parades.