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Sense prevails over Twaddell dispute

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 26/09/2016

Twaddell Avenue protest in north Belfast (Saturday 6th August 2016 - Presseye News)
Twaddell Avenue protest in north Belfast (Saturday 6th August 2016 - Presseye News)

It seems that a final resolution of the complex Twaddell Avenue dispute will become a reality this week, and the vast majority of people on all sides will welcome this development.

Though the Parades Commission may have to struggle administratively to allow the long-delayed Orange parade to proceed, everyone is hoping that there will be no last-minute hitches, and that this most contentious dispute will finally be settled.

In the past three years this stand-off has cost a staggering £21m to police.

The cost is bad enough to contemplate, but there is also the virtually incalculable damage of violent images of Northern Ireland being broadcast around the world.

There is also the added damage of disputes like this working against the more hopeful spirit of agreement that has been emerging in our province.

The Ardoyne stand-off has also been damaging to the work of some of the fledgling cross-community relationships on the ground.

Much praise is due to the mediators and all those who worked hard to end the Twaddell Avenue dispute. In many ways this has been a microcosm of most of our troubles, but as we have discovered earlier, there is usually a solution. In this case a way through has been found when calm heads and common sense are allowed to prevail.

The bottom line for all of us is the reality that we have to find a way of living together with mutual respect and tolerance.

We need to show a basic regard for, and understanding of, those whom many people might regard as "the other side".

We have come a long way throughout the Troubles, and also the long and often tortuous peace process. Although there is still a long way to go, the signs for the future are more hopeful.

It is worth underlining that thousands of the Loyal Orders parades pass off peacefully each year, and that only a tiny minority cause major trouble and are deemed to be contentious.

Many of the major pressure points have been dealt with satisfactorily, and hopefully the Twaddell stand-off will eventually become a thing of the past.

It is only when such disputes are allowed to fester that the real damage is created. So it's well done to all involved at Twaddell, and let's try to solve the remainder of such road-blocks to create much better community relations.

Belfast Telegraph

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