Belfast Telegraph

Unionist leaders press Theresa Villiers for inquiry to break Ardoyne parade deadlock

By Paul Connolly

Unionist leaders have pressed the Northern Ireland Secretary to establish a time-bound commission to investigate and potentially unlock the current parades deadlock.

The DUP and UUP were joined by other unionists as they met Theresa Villiers at Stormont today.

They put forward a plan first mooted by the Belfast Telegraph for a full hearing on ways to move the process forward.

The proposal for an inquiry – with powers to carry out research and initiate dialogue - was made after another impasse was reached on a parade past Ardoyne in north Belfast and a declaration from the Parades Commission that it was effectively unable to settle the issue because of cultural and political issues beyond its scope.

First Minister Peter Robinson said after the meeting the Belfast Telegraph/Unionist leaders' joint proposal was not a "one-sided approach" and that leadership was needed from nationalists and republicans.

"It is not a unionist answer to the problem," he said. "It is recognising that in order for there to be a resolution we need the participation of everyone.

"It does no violence to any other process. It doesn't relate to the leaders' talks. Neither does it impinge on works of the Parades Commission."

The meeting also included representatives of the TUV, UKIP, the PUP, the UPRG and the Orange Order.

Speaking earlier at a press conference, Sinn Fein said the issue could only be resolved with the resumption of all-party round-table talks.

"We absolutely believe in the independence and integrity of the Parades Commission,” said Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. "We're opposed to an inquiry."


Further reading:

Implement Belfast Telegraph's Ardoyne parade proposal, unionists urge 

Ardoyne parade proposal: It is an idea that just might offer a way forward  

Unionism must give leadership - over Ardoyne and the welfare cuts  

It could be a relief for Northern Ireland to start having a 'silly season' 

Peter Robinson won't go just yet... DUP still values him too much 

Northern Ireland Office backs parades talks, says new chief

Unionist chiefs to urge Theresa Villiers to grant inquiry into parading  

Orange Order urged to build on peaceful Twelfth 

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