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Orange Order set to give verdict on parades blueprint

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Disturbances On Garvaghy Road Portadown May 1998. Rioters hurl stones at RUC riot police on the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, Northern Ireland, during disturbances following an Orange parade in the area.

Disturbances On Garvaghy Road Portadown May 1998. Rioters hurl stones at RUC riot police on the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, Northern Ireland, during disturbances following an Orange parade in the area.

Orange Order: Drumcree, Portadown

Orange Order: Drumcree, Portadown

Drumcree Orange Parade At Portadown July 1998. Portadown Grand Master Harold Gracey gives a speech to the crowds outside Drumcree Church of Ireland.

Drumcree Orange Parade At Portadown July 1998. Portadown Grand Master Harold Gracey gives a speech to the crowds outside Drumcree Church of Ireland.

Drumcree Orange Order Demonstration Scarfs drapped around the Road Sign of Drumcree near Portadown

Drumcree Orange Order Demonstration Scarfs drapped around the Road Sign of Drumcree near Portadown

Army Prepare For Drumcree July 2001

Army Prepare For Drumcree July 2001

DAVID TRIMBLE MAKES HIS WAY TO GREET THE PORTADOWN ORANGEMEN AFTER THEY MARCHED DOWN GARVAGHY RD 1996.

DAVID TRIMBLE MAKES HIS WAY TO GREET THE PORTADOWN ORANGEMEN AFTER THEY MARCHED DOWN GARVAGHY RD 1996.

Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. A young Loyalist waves the Union Jack at Royal Ulster Constabulary police in riot gear, from the Loyalist side of the town of Portadown, Northern Ireland, as a nationalist-republican protest march,  passed by peacefully down the Nationalist Garvaghy road.

Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. A young Loyalist waves the Union Jack at Royal Ulster Constabulary police in riot gear, from the Loyalist side of the town of Portadown, Northern Ireland, as a nationalist-republican protest march, passed by peacefully down the Nationalist Garvaghy road.

Orangemen On The Garvaghy Road, July 2000

Orangemen On The Garvaghy Road, July 2000

A petrol bomber on the Garvaghy Road

A petrol bomber on the Garvaghy Road

Orangemen go no further as they reach the barrier at Drumcreee preventing them from marching on the Garvaghy Rd.

Orangemen go no further as they reach the barrier at Drumcreee preventing them from marching on the Garvaghy Rd.

Tempers flare as Orangemen are blocked from walking the Garvaghy Rd, Drumcree, July 2000

Tempers flare as Orangemen are blocked from walking the Garvaghy Rd, Drumcree, July 2000

GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.

GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.

Northern Ireland Troubles gallery.....Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Security Forces kept a Loyalist counter demonstration at a safe distance from Nationalist marchers near Oben Street, Portadown

Northern Ireland Troubles gallery.....Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Security Forces kept a Loyalist counter demonstration at a safe distance from Nationalist marchers near Oben Street, Portadown

Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Brid Rodgers and Brendan McKenna in attendance at Garvaghy Road demonstration, Portadown

Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Brid Rodgers and Brendan McKenna in attendance at Garvaghy Road demonstration, Portadown

GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.

GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.

Drumcree - July 6th 2002. Soldiers erect a security fence at Drumcree Church in Portadown.

Drumcree - July 6th 2002. Soldiers erect a security fence at Drumcree Church in Portadown.

An RUC officer fires plastic bullets at rioting nationalists on the Garvaghy Road

An RUC officer fires plastic bullets at rioting nationalists on the Garvaghy Road

An injured woman is led away, Drumcree July 1997

An injured woman is led away, Drumcree July 1997

Garvaghy Road Residents Meet With David Trimble May 99. Brendan McKenna arrives at Craigavon Civic Centre to meet the First Minister David Trimble in an effort to solve the Drumcree stand off.

Garvaghy Road Residents Meet With David Trimble May 99. Brendan McKenna arrives at Craigavon Civic Centre to meet the First Minister David Trimble in an effort to solve the Drumcree stand off.

Drumcree July 2000

Drumcree July 2000

Drumcree by Tony Hendron

Drumcree by Tony Hendron

Portadown March at Drumcree bridge July 2002 Portadown District Orangemen parade down to the barrier at Drumcree before trouble flared

Portadown March at Drumcree bridge July 2002 Portadown District Orangemen parade down to the barrier at Drumcree before trouble flared

Nationalist protesters walk to Garvaghy Road July 1997. Residents Coalition in Drumcree Portadown to voice their anger at Loyalist Parades through their area

Nationalist protesters walk to Garvaghy Road July 1997. Residents Coalition in Drumcree Portadown to voice their anger at Loyalist Parades through their area

Riot Police are called in every night to the Garvaghy Road as the Drumcree Stand Off continues

Riot Police are called in every night to the Garvaghy Road as the Drumcree Stand Off continues

Drumcree, Northern Ireland. A makeshift road block on main road into Portadown town centre

Drumcree, Northern Ireland. A makeshift road block on main road into Portadown town centre

Mark Harbinson pictured at Drumcree July 2000

Mark Harbinson pictured at Drumcree July 2000

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Orange Order chiefs meet this weekend to deliver a verdict on changes in dealing with contentious parades — days ahead of the first crunch Assembly vote since the Hillsborough deal.

A blueprint expected to involve the removal of the Parades Commission is expected to be presented to the quarterly meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge.

A recommendation from the Order’s central committee — essentially its steering group — is thought to be positive.

Grand Lodge members, who have voiced “areas of concern”, could overturn it and cast doubt on next Tuesday’s MLAs vote.

The central committee is preparing the groundwork for Saturday’s meeting, which comes three weeks after the Order’s annual special meeting on parading.

Since then Orange grand master Robert Saulters and grand secretary Drew Nelson met DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and the three DUP members of the working group on parades set up under the terms of the Hillsborough deal — MP Jeffrey Donaldson, Executive Minister Nelson McCausland and MLA Stephen Moutray.

That was followed by a meeting of the institution’s central committee which was briefed by Presbyterian minister Rev Mervyn Gibson, a grand chaplain and, along with Sean ‘Spike’ Murray, an adviser to the DUP/Sinn Fein working group and member of the former Strategic Review Team on Parades headed by former Liberal leader Paddy Ashdown.

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The committee, which also includes senior officers at the county level of the Orange Order, then drew up a recommendation which has not yet been made public.

The Order’s initial reaction to Hillsborough was a “positive step forward” but after the Tamnamore meeting Mr Saulters said: “Our membership have several issues of concern about the proposed arrangements that may come from the current parades working group and are in no position to make any judgment or form any opinion at this time.”

Thus the outcome to Saturday’s deliberations could prove crucial to the DUP in deciding whether to press ahead with the expected cross- community vote next Tuesday formally requesting the transfer of policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont.

SDLP MLAs have criticised the fact that Orange officials were given briefings while the report from the DUP/ Sinn Fein working groups is being kept under wraps.

Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said: “By refusing to publish their report, Sinn Fein and the DUP are sending a message to the community that they will have to accept whatever political fix they have created on the future of parades across Northern Ireland.”


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