Sinn Féin held its first face-to-face meeting with loyalist representatives from north Belfast this evening to discuss the problems of contentious parades and street violence.

Afterwards both sides said they were completely opposed to the kind of rioting that took place in Ardoyne last month and committed themselves to holding further meetings.

The Sinn Féin delegation was led by party president Gerry Adams and North Belfast Assembly member and Junior Stormont Minister Gerry Kelly.

The loyalist contingent included Tommy Cheevers, who is chairman of the North and West Belfast Parades Forum.

No members of the Orange Order were present, but it was the first time that republicans and Apprentice Boys met formally, face to face.

It is far from clear if the dialogue will have any impact on dissidents, who are challenging Sinn Féin's writ in republican areas.

Later this week the Parades Commission is expected to rule on whether the Apprentice Boys can walk through Ardoyne on 14 August.