Ligoniel parade impasse plan to be revealed in new year

Jeffrey Donaldson speaking to the media at Stormont House, Belfast: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jeffrey Donaldson speaking to the media at Stormont House, Belfast: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Details of proposals to resolve the ongoing parading impasse in north Belfast will be revealed in the new year, Jeffrey Dondaldson has said.

The DUP MP said the issue was far from over.

“The Secretary of State will be making an announcement in the new year on an initiative to try and move the north Belfast situation forward.”

Mr Donaldson told the BBC: “We are absolutely focussed on the need to resolve that issue, the Orange lodges from Ligoniel need to return home. We want to see that matter resolved.”

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman for the NIO confirmed the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers’ decision not to proceed with the proposed panel on parading in Twaddell/Ardoyne.

“The Government remains fully committed to seeking a resolution to the situation Twaddell/Ardoyne. When we announced the Terms of Reference for a panel on parading in north Belfast, we stated that a key principle was that it must command cross community support.

“The aim of the panel was mediation and dialogue, but effective mediation cannot take place without meaningful engagement from both sides. It has become apparent that there is insufficient support for the proposed panel among some of those most closely involved in the dispute. This is reflected, to varying degrees, on both sides of the community. We have therefore decided, on balance, not to go ahead with setting up the panel.”

The spokeswoman added: “We will continue to work to see if a way can be found to help resolve the impasse at Twaddell/Ardoyne and encourage others to do the same.

“This matter is not covered by the Stormont House Agreement.”

A spokesman for the Orange Order said the institution would examine closely the parading proposals in the agreement.