Dissension on Twaddell parade deal

Twaddell Camp
Twaddell Camp

The unveiling of a deal which would see the end of the protest camp at Twaddell in north Belfast has been called off after reported dissension on both sides.

The Parades Commission blocked an Orange Order march from the return leg of their July 12 parade past the nationalist Ardoyne area of north Belfast in 2013.

As a result loyalists created a protest camp at nearby Twaddell Avenue, vowing to remain in place until they would be “allowed home”.

There have been ongoing talks aiming to achieve a deal which would resolve the issue. It is understood that the latest talks process included Methodist cleric Rev Harold Good, the PUP, representatives of the Orange Order, Sinn Fein and the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association. It is reported that a businessman who has mediated in similar deals in Londonderry was also involved.

A press conference to unveil the deal had been planned for yesterday afternoon but was called off earlier in the morning.

It is understood that the deal would have seen the three lodges which were blocked from the return leg of their 2013 parade walk home at the end of this week.

As part of the deal, republicans would not object to morning parades past Ardoyne while the Loyal Orders would not apply for return evening parades.

The deal was subject to engagement on further talks on the issues.

However, it has been opposed by rival group, Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Coalition (GARC), which is strongly critical of Sinn Fein, and one of three Orange Lodges involved in the dispute.

Ballysillan LOL 1891 made a statement saying the lodge has “accepted no deal and will not be taking part in the parade on the 1 July (Friday morning) past Ardoyne shops”.

One source said: “Time is ticking on the deal. Two lodges agree and one doesn’t and that could wreck the whole thing.”

GARC said yesterday that it hoped Rev Good “has been made aware of residents’ intent to oppose this shambolic arrangement and abandon this appeasement process”. It insisted the deal did not mean the Orange Order would agree not to apply for return parades in future.