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Respect on all sides must be a part of the Twelfth

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 11/07/2015

Bonfires are regarded by many Protestants and unionists as part of their culture, and as a Twelfth celebration highlight
Bonfires are regarded by many Protestants and unionists as part of their culture, and as a Twelfth celebration highlight

Bonfires are regarded by many Protestants and unionists as part of their culture, and as a Twelfth celebration highlight.

However, it is totally unacceptable that people should be moved from their homes because of the dangers from some bonfires. These include the huge structures at Chobham Street in Belfast, Ballymacash in Lisburn, and elsewhere.

Why should people have to move because others decide to build a bonfire only 30 feet from their door? What are the agencies - including police, local councils and central government - doing about it?

Even at this late stage we would ask the people on the ground to reach an accommodation, and we commend those working to resolve the issue.

Some parades during this period can also lead to confrontations, and this issue must also be addressed.

The Orange Order has been working hard to make its activities more inclusive, and over 60 per cent of the Order's outreach is with the maintained schools. Orange leaders also consulted nationalist opinion in planning their museums in Belfast and Loughgall.

However, there is evidence of a concerted campaign against the Order, and last week yet another Orange Hall was virtually razed to the ground.

Nevertheless, the Order still refuses to enter discussions with the Parades Commission and residents' group, and this is not the way forward.

People have a right to protest about parades, but this also needs to be tempered by much good sense.

The marchers need to behave with dignity and show respect for others. They should be setting a good example to children who flock to the parades.

In reality the vast majority on both sides want the marches to pass off peacefully, without disastrous headlines about confrontation or riots being flashed abroad.

A peaceful, Twelfth period is therefore in everyone's best interests.

Belfast Telegraph

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