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Majority of residents willing to compromise on Orange marches

July 27, 2013: 

Orange supporters pictured on the Woodvale Road in Belfast during a protest march, close to the disputed Crumlin Road section of the route at Ardoyne.

July 27, 2013: Orange supporters pictured on the Woodvale Road in Belfast during a protest march, close to the disputed Crumlin Road section of the route at Ardoyne.

The Orange Order has welcomed an ad hoc poll of residents living along a contentious north Belfast July 12 parade route which revealed that the majority have an appetite for resolution and are willing to compromise.

The poll of 38 of the 44 occupied homes along the parade route between Hesketh Drive and Woodvale Road was carried out by the BBC Spotlight programme.

They found that: five would not comment; 12 wanted all parades banned; nine said they wanted all parades to go ahead; and 12 said they were open to a compromise.

An Orange Order spokesman said: “The BBC Spotlight survey clearly shows that more than half of those polled have no outright objection to Orange parades on the main arterial route of the Crumlin Road.

“While not a prerequisite, such recognition of shared space is to be welcomed; and should now be respected by those republicans not directly affected, but most vociferous, in their blatant opposition to the Ligoniel lodges returning home.”

Results of the survey were revealed after Justice Minister David Ford urged loyalists manning the Twaddell protest camp at the north Belfast interface to give it up ahead of the marching season.

The camp was formed last year after Orangemen were banned by the Parades Commission from parading up a section of the nearby Crumlin Road on their way home from July 12 events.

Demonstrators have maintained a continuous presence at the protest camp on Twaddell Avenue ever since.

Police have maintained a fluctuating presence in the area – an operation that has cost the PSNI in excess of £9 million.

In the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Ford said it was time for the camp to go.

“The reality is that money (to police the camp) which is now lost, which could have been used for policing priorities in other areas, could have been used in a variety of projects which I suspect every MLA could identify in their constituency in terms of the ongoing work of community policing and which sadly has been expended for no good purpose whatsoever.

“It really is time that those who are involved in that particular camp recognise the reality of the law, recognise where the Parades Commission’s lawful determinations have led them, accepted that point and gave up their protest.”

 

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