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Theresa Villiers to hold talks on Ardoyne parade stalemate later this week

By Sara Neill

Talks about the parading impasse at Ardoyne are expected to be held this week after a move by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

The discussions, expected to take place later this week, are the latest attempt to tackle the issue after Sinn Fein ruled out an inquiry into parading in north Belfast, compounding the political stalemate over the long-running dispute.

Stormont has been unable to deal with the issue.

It is now two months since unionists walked out of a previous round of cross-party talks, after the Parades Commission banned the Orange Order from returning past Ardoyne on the Twelfth of July.

A united unionist front claimed the decision was rewarding threats of republican violence.

Last week, the Orange Order, DUP, UUP, TUV, Ukip, PUP and UPRG West Belfast said an answer was required from the Secretary of State after a request that she set up a legal inquiry into parading issues.

It was dismissed by Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly, who said that would not be conducive to encouraging dialogue on parading.

Ms Villiers is to convene the meetings at Stormont, with the north Belfast parading row at the top of the agenda.

The discussions could also provide a solution about the devolution of corporation tax, which the Prime Minister said would be dealt with after the Scottish referendum.

If devolved, corporation tax is likely to be reduced to 12.5%, to equal the rate in the Republic, and addressing fears that higher taxation could be costing NI in terms of new business, foreign investment, and job opportunities.

The Belfast Telegraph understands an answer on the topic may not be given until November.

Ms Villiers said: "Detailed technical work has been under way for some months on how a devolved corporation tax regime might operate in Northern Ireland. This has progressed well.

"The UK Government will be looking carefully at whether devolution can go ahead and we are committed to announcing a decision on this by the Autumn Statement."

Belfast Telegraph


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