Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson: Theresa Villiers 'broke word' over parades panel

First Minister Peter Robinson has accused the secretary of state of "breaking her word" over parading.

Last month, Theresa Villiers said the government would not be setting up a panel to examine a parades dispute in north Belfast.

She said there was a lack of support from some people closely involved in the dispute.

The new panel was to be established to focus on the toxic marching dispute in the Ardoyne area of the city.

However Peter Robinson said the DUP was not consulted before Ms Villiers' decision was made public.

In an interview for the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, he said he wanted to meet the Orange Order to discuss the situation.

"I had no idea that it was being brought to an end, the secretary of state was not going ahead with it," he said.

"I would have thought that, as someone who had spoken to her on a number of occasions in relation to the parades panel, that she would have come back to us to tell us what her decision was before she would have gone public."

Nightly protests continue to take place in the Ardoyne interface with a permanent protest camp at Twaddell Avenue following a Parades Commission decision to refuse an Orange Order march from passing by the stretch of the Crumlin Road that separates unionist and nationalist areas.

In July last year, unionist leaders demanded an inquiry after the Parades Commission banned the return leg of the parade for the second year in a row.

The proposal for a commission of inquiry into contentious marches at the north Belfast interface where violence has erupted for years was first put forward by the Belfast Telegraph in July.

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