Northern Ireland

Twaddell: Ardoyne residents group and Orange Order deal collapses

The deal would have meant an Orange parade, prevented from returning to Ligoniel in 2013, would have been completed on Friday morning. Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption The deal would have meant an Orange parade, prevented from returning to Ligoniel in 2013, would have been completed on Friday morning

A proposed deal to end a long-running dispute between the Orange Order and a nationalist residents group in north Belfast has collapsed.

Talks facilitators said that "despite some positive feedback", they were unable to find agreement at this time.

The deal would have meant an Orange parade, prevented from returning to Ligoniel in 2013, would have been completed on Friday morning.

A loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue would then have been dismantled.

On Tuesday, the talks facilitators, Rev Harold Good and Jim Roddy, said: "Over the past few weeks, we have spent some time taking soundings from various people with a view to finding a resolution to the issues surrounding parading and protests at the Twaddell/Crumlin Road interface.

"Despite some positive feedback on our ideas, we have been unable to achieve agreement for a resolution at this moment in time."

In response, the County Grand Lodge of Belfast said it "very much regrets the initiative to resolve the Crumlin Road impasse did not succeed".

"We thank those involved for their efforts and input," it said, adding that it "remains committed to supporting the Ligoniel lodges as they complete their Twelfth of July parade."

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption A protester was flung from the roof of a police Land Rover after being sprayed by a police water cannon three years ago

The Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), which took part in the talks, held a public meeting on Monday night to outline details of the proposed agreement.

On Tuesday, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the issue had "brought huge challenges" to the communities who live in the surrounding areas.

"All of us in positions of political leadership have a responsibility to continue to do all in our power to support those involved in seeking resolution to contentious issues through dialogue," he said.

Ulster Unionist MLA and Orange Order member Danny Kennedy expressed disappointment that agreement was not reached.

"This is an opportunity lost for the moment," said Mr Kennedy.

"We had proposed this as a game changer two years ago, so we are very disappointed that it has not yet been possible to reach final agreement which had seemed within touching distance. I hope that this is not the end."

The Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective (GARC) rejected what they described as a "Sinn Féin/UVF deal."

They have blamed the lack of agreement on "Loyalists' false sense of superiority over their neighbours, based on religion and/or political outlook".

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