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Possibility of no parade must be on agenda too

We’re ready to talk right now, Orange is told

Celebrating the Twelfth at Woodvale after police blocked Orangemen returning to Ligoniel Celebrating the Twelfth at Woodvale after police blocked Orangemen returning to Ligoniel
By Staff Reporter

THE Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA) say they are ready to enter negotiations as soon as “tonight” with the Orange Order in a bid to prevent trouble at next year’s Ardoyne parade.

Joe Marley said dialogue was the only way forward, but warned that everything would be up for discussion, including the possibility that no parades will take place.

“Now, tonight, tomorrow, next day – no problem. And the reason for that is to give us plenty of time to thrash out what the actual issues are,” he said.

“Going into talks five days or six days before the 12th is a no-brainer. Everyone knows that is far too late. While it is still welcome that the Orange have decided to talk to residents, just doing that isn’t good enough. We need to get into substantial negotiations as to how we come to a resolution.

“There are all sorts of compromises but it’s all to be worked out in conversations. We need to know what ballpark people are in. The discussions will be about having parades but they will also be about not having parades, that’s just as valid an option as having a parade, so if it’s going to be an open-ended discussion with no ties or barriers, then that’s what everybody has to get their head around.”

Fellow CARA committee member Liam McCafferty said he wanted to see everything discussed – even the Orange Order being allowed to return back up the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne after the main 12th of July demonstrations next year.

“Last year when they were restricted to coming back before 4pm they made a big fuss about how difficult it was to get home. Their whole argument was how they get home. That would have been understandable if that group of Orangemen came back that evening and then walked on up to the lodge. What they did was come back that evening, walk past our houses, and then got on a bus and returned to Barnett Demesne and did a victory lap around the field.

“Our community is wise to this. They know this isn’t about walking home and we know it isn’t about walking home, it’s about being able to say, ‘We go where we want, how we want, how we please. We don’t speak to you about it, we don’t ask you how we feel about it, we don’t want to have a conversation with you about how you feel about how we bring our flags and bands that are offensive.’

“That’s where it lies for us but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for compromise. There always is room for compromise and CARA in particular has never said that we don’t want Orangemen on the Crumlin Road full stop, that is not what it’s about. But it is all about how you do things in the context of a bigger, wider agreement and that hasn’t been approached yet.”

Conscious that the idea that a CARA-negotiated agreement could see an Orange parade on the evening of the 12th of July, Liam said no final decision would be made unless the community was consulted. He said he made that point clear at a public meeting held last Wednesday evening (July 10) in the Crumlin Star.

“An individual had asked if we come to an agreement with the Orange would we press ahead without the agreement of the wider community. But we have already said it, and we will say it again, that any agreement we come to with any of the loyal orders would be brought to the community first, and the community would be asked to endorse it. That still stands. But conversations, potential agreements and solutions, we have to talk about that first.

“But the community will be asked to endorse anything that comes from talks.”

He went on to thank both Sinn Féin and the SDLP for their continuing support and the wider community effort that ensured the weekend passed off peacefully in Ardoyne.

Loyalists have rioted in Belfast for five days after the Ligoniel lodges in North Belfast were prevented from passing the Ardoyne shops by the Parades Commission after their Twelfth demonstration on Friday.

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