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Breakthrough on Northern Ireland community relations and parading

The First and deputy First Minister have announced progress on a long-awaited strategy on community relations.

The news came as Stormont sources also confirmed that plans for overseeing controversial parades would also be delivered. The plans, which are expected to form the basis for new legislation to deal with contentious parades, were being put together by a six man DUP/Sinn Fein working group set up as part of the Hillsborough Agreement.

The group has met every day for the past two weeks and consulted with the Orange Order and nationalist residents groups on Monday. Work on the report continued late into last night.

Both developments are part of the implementation of the Hillsborough deal on policing, justice and parades.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said they had agreed a programme for cohesion, sharing and integration (CSI). Their department will be asking government departments for their input.

The document will be presented to the OFMDFM committee before going to the Executive, and then go out for public consultation.

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