Kelly says Crumlin template must be applied to Ardoyne

By Gemma Burns

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly says the Orange Order must sit down with Ardoyne residents and talk about the parading issue to prevent a repeat of this year’s Twelfth disturbances.

The Sinn Féin Assembly member said events in Crumlin village – where the Orange reached a deal with residents that led to a peaceful parade – show the Order is in fact willing to talk to residents and must now do so in Ardoyne.

Gerry Kelly also said the decision by the Orange Order to send a token number of marchers through Ardoyne before they then boarded a bus back to the field was “almost farcical”.

“The bottom line with trouble on the Twelfth in Ardoyne is that the Orange Order was intent on walking through an area where they are clearly not wanted,” he said.

“They had walked the same route in the morning and enjoyed their cultural and religious celebrations throughout the day so creating a contentious return parade through the nationalist Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales areas was unwarranted and provocative.

“We had the almost farcical situation where the Orange Order decide to bus marchers along the part of the route where their parade is welcomed in order to parade along the part of the route which goes through three areas where they are not welcome.”

The MLA said the Orange Order need to look to Crumlin as a blueprint for how they can work with Ardoyne residents to reach a peaceful solution.

“Just a few miles away the Orange Order sat down with a local residents’ organisation in Crumlin village which allowed them to come to an agreement on the march,” he said.

“Residents in Ardoyne, however, have been waiting for over 15 years for the Orange Order to enter this type of dialogue. There is a resolution to this situation and dialogue is the way forward. We should not wait until next year before that talking begins. The Orange Order need to step up to the plate and engage with residents in face-to-face talks.”

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