Order’s no comment on Twaddell ‘deal’

Camp Twaddell
Camp Twaddell

The Orange Order has declined to comment on claims that a deal has been struck that could see the end of the Twaddell Avenue stand-off in north Belfast.

A loyalist protest camp was formed in the area in July 2013 after the Parades Commission blocked an Orange Order march from their return route home.

A source from the area told the News Letter tonight that a deal involving a Protestant clergyman and Sinn Fein was put to three local Orange lodges on Thursday night.

He added that the Greater Ardoyne Residents Coalition (GARC) was furious at the developments and that Sinn Fein had been selling the deal around doors in the Ardoyne area.

The Orange Order has declined to comment on the claims.

GARC addressed speculation about the deal on its Facebook page this afternoon and said it would call supporters from other areas to oppose any such parade.

“It is being reported locally that members of Sinn Fein have today been calling to houses of supporters in Mountainview and The Dales to say that an ‘agreement’ has been reached for the Orange Order to march from Twaddell to Ballysillan next Friday,” it said. “It has also been suggested that a press announcement is imminent.

“This shameful ‘deal’ appears to have been agreed without any consultation or discussion with local residents.

“Should this be the case, GARC shall mobilise residents, and those from other areas who wish to support us, to oppose the rewarding of years of intimidation and harassment via nightly parades and a hatecamp.”

The News Letter has asked for comment from Sinn Fein, the DUP, PUP and the church from which the clergyman is alleged to belong.

None of them have yet offered any comment,

Tommy Cheevers, former spokesman for the North and West Belfast Parades Forum, said he would leave it to the Orange Order to comment on what is happening.

“There have always been talks going on,” he said. “I just hope this time they will have some success.”