Ardoyne talks over Twelfth ‘break down’ (UTV)

Talks with the Orange Order to resolve parading tensions ahead of the Twelfth have “broken down,” according to a nationalist residents’ group.

A statement from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) released on Monday morning said it was “unfortunate” the dialogue had come “so late in the day”.

Spokesman Joe Marley added: “We were unable to find a resolution with regards to the 12th of July parades this Friday and it was unfortunate that the talks came so late in the day.

“We are calling on all relevant stakeholders to use their influence in a common effort to defuse tensions. While we were unable to secure a resolution with regards to this Friday, we remain committed and hopeful to re-engage with local lodges after the 12th of July.”

The talks were initiated at the request of loyalist residents’ group, the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents Association, who called on three local lodges in north Belfast engage in direct dialogue with a nationalist residents group.

The annual Ardoyne parade has been marred by serious violence in recent years and it was hoped the move could pave the way for a more peaceful Twelfth.

In a statement, the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast described the weekend’s talks as “historic” and said they have taken “all possible steps.”

“We believe all steps possible have been taken by the Orange family to ensure a peaceful Twelfth for those who parade and protest along the Crumlin Road,” the statement read.

“The local Lodges are willing to continue with the engagement should it be helpful to address genuine issues and concerns. In taking this historic step to engage, the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast, their community and political partners sought to build on the spirit of the ‘Comprehensive Template’, which has been delivered in full.”

UUP Councillor Mark Cosgrove said talks faltered over the return march.

“I think there’s a fundamental reason why they haven’t been successful this time whereby from a loyal order and unionist community perspective we are looking for a peaceful and respectful homeward parade on the Twelfth evening,” Mr Cosgrove told UTV.

“It seems as though that is not on the table from the CARA side, but it is a fundamentally reasonable thing to ask for and to walk home from a day down in Belfast.”

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin’s North Belfast MLA, said that there were two lengthy meetings held between the Orange Order, the Woodvale and Twaddell Residents Association and CARA.

“CARA invited Sinn Féin and the SDLP to attend as advisers; this included myself and Alban Maginness.

“The Orange Order and Woodvale Residents Association also invited advisers which included representatives of the PUP,” he added.

“The meetings over the weekend were frank and we hope an important beginning to a process of dialogue between the Orange Order and residents. This is the first time that the Orange Order have been involved in face to face talks with a nationalist residents association in Belfast.”

Mr Kelly continued, saying that while the talks were very close to the 12th of July parades, anytime is the right time to begin a process of genuine dialogue.

“Although there was no agreement reached at these discussions we are calling on all stakeholders to use their influence to ensure a peaceful 12th July, whatever the outcome of the Parades Commission determination.”

North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said he welcomed the fact that the historic talks had takenplace.

“This dialogue was highly significant and the talks were conducted in a positive, respectful manner, with all parties working towards a long term, peaceful solution to the issue of parading in this part of north Belfast,” said the MLA.

“Whilst no agreement could be reached on parades for this Twelfth I would hope that this dialogue will continue in the weeks and months ahead so that we can find a solution that benefits the people who live and work in the area.”

The Parades Commission has yet to deliver its determination on Friday’s parade.


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