Belfast Telegraph

Route out of Ardoyne impasse is clear

Editor's Viewpoint

In the absence of any voluntary agreement on the controversial Orange Order parade in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast – or indeed total acceptance of the Parades Commission's determination on the march – it is blindingly obvious that an independent inquiry into the issue is the best way forward.

This idea was first proposed by this newspaper after the commission itself admitted that a new approach was needed on the contentious parade. And, as the results of a poll published today show, there is widespread community support for such an inquiry. It is by far the preferred option by both nationalists and unionists, but politicians are still reluctant to buy into the idea.

It makes no sense for Sinn Fein or the SDLP to snub the idea of an inquiry – arguing that the Parades Commission should be the sole adjudicator on marches – given that the genesis of the proposal came from the commission itself before being fleshed out by this newspaper.

Nor should the DUP argue that any inquiry must be completed before they consider joining inter-party talks, also involving the British and Irish governments, on legacy issues such as parading, flags and the past. While the Irish government's role must be made explicit, there is no reason to stop its involvement in some form in spite of DUP objections.

It is encouraging that Secretary of State Theresa Villiers is spelling out bluntly to the politicians where their responsibilities lie. They cannot continue to stall on controversial matters, such as welfare reform as well as legacy issues, without doing irreparable damage to the devolved administration.

She is correct to say that local politicians must get to grips with these issues if they are to deal effectively with the economic issues which impact on daily life here.

While there are encouraging signs of economic growth these will be undone unless a way through the welfare reform impasse is found.

And, in the longer term, politicians will throw away the chance of getting corporation tax devolved – an economic catalyst that this newspaper has consistently backed – unless they can prove themselves prudent and capable of running their own administration.

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