Talks over Orange Order's 12 July parade routes fail

Monday 08 July 2013 13.37
There has been violence around previous parades in the Ardoyne area
There has been violence around previous parades in the Ardoyne area

Talks aimed at resolving one of Northern Ireland's most troublesome marches have failed to reach an agreement.

The Crumlin Ardoyne Residents' Association said face-to-face talks over a disputed 12 July feeder parade in north Belfast came too late to provide agreement.

CARA spokesman Joe Marley said: "We were unable to find a resolution with regards to the Twelfth of July parades this Friday and it was unfortunate that the talks came so late in the day.

"There was consensus from all those participating in the talks that this Twelfth should be peaceful irrespective of the Parades Commission determination."

More than nine hours of dialogue took place at Belfast City Hall throughout the weekend.

The talks were called by the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents' Association, which asked three local lodges to engage directly with CARA after three recent peaceful parades in north Belfast.

CARA is one of two residents' groups opposed to the annual Orange Order parade in Ardoyne.

It was the first time the Orange Order had agreed to meet a residents' group from the area, which has seen serious rioting during previous parades.

In recent years, police officers have been pelted with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles while trying to keep the peace following the annual Orange Order demonstration past Ardoyne.

Shots have also been fired and last year an explosive device was also thrown towards police lines.

Mr Marley said locals were committed to securing a resolution and hoped to re-engage with local Orange lodges on the issue.

The Parades Commission has yet to issue its determination regarding the parade past Ardoyne.

Orange Order county grand chaplain of Belfast Mervyn Gibson said there had not been any walkout, but described discussions as full and frank.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective, which is also opposed to Orange Order marches, branded the talks as a cynical ploy.

Meanwhile, in a statement the Orange Order said it believed all steps had been taken to ensure a peaceful Twelfth for those who parade and protest along the Crumlin Road.