Order praised for ensuring protest remained peaceful

Orange Marshalls pictured on the Woodvale Road in Belfast
Orange Marshalls pictured on the Woodvale Road in Belfast

The Orange Order must build on their peaceful display on Saturday by engaging in meaningful dialogue, a north Belfast councillor has said.

A peaceful protest was held after the second banned parade in the Ardoyne area in the space of a week.

The Order has been praised for ensuring the violence that broke out following the Twelfth parade was not repeated.

Alliance North Belfast representative Councillor John Blair said: “Thankfully this protest was peaceful and there was no violence on Saturday night. However, tensions in the area remain high and calm will not be restored by continued protests.

“I am concerned by the language used by the Orange Order that this protest was the beginning of a campaign on parades. We need to see the Orange Order engage in meaningful dialogue with all groups. This is the only way that a positive resolution will be found.

“I welcome their declaration that they will work with the Richard Haass led cross party talks. This group will discuss several issues including flags, parading and the past. This shared future reference group was an Alliance Party suggestion in our ‘For Everyone’ document, and I hope that through meaningful engagement by all sides we will deliver a genuine shared future.”

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said dialogue is the only way forward.

“I welcome that today’s parade and protest has passed off peacefully. It is my hope that all sides will now be able to resume talks in order to find a lasting solution to this contentious parade. I would urge all political, religious, community representatives to do all that they can to facilitate this dialogue.

“The commencement of the Haass talks affords a real opportunity for leadership to be shown to ensure that local families do not continue to be affected by the type of violence we have seen recently.”