Northern Ireland

Stormont talks on parades described as 'useful'

The first and deputy first minister are to hold joint meeting with Parades Commission
Image caption The first and deputy first minister held a joint meeting with the Parades Commission on Tuesday

The chairman of the Parades Commission has said he is "optimistic but realistic" about the prospects for the rest of the marching season in Northern Ireland.

Peter Osborne was speaking after meeting the NI first and deputy first ministers at Stormont.

He said there was a genuine will in the community for a "very peaceful and calm" marching season.

Mr Osborne described the meeting as useful.

The first and deputy first ministers were holding their first joint meeting with the Parades Commission.

Mr Osborne sought the meeting as part of a range of engagements the commission is having with regard to the marching season in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month he said he hoped the Grand Lodge of the Orange Order would soon reverse its policy of refusing to speak to the Parades Commission.

Last July, the Orange Order rejected proposals for new legislation on how to deal with contentious parades set out by a joint DUP and Sinn Fein working group.

The six-strong group was set up to work on the matter after the Hillsborough Agreement in January 2010.

The proposals focused on dialogue and a code of conduct for both residents and marchers.

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