Northern Ireland

Twaddell: Ballysillan lodge suspends protest

Members of the three lodges involved in the Ardoyne parade dispute arrived at police lines led by the Ballysillan banner on Saturday
Image caption Members of the three lodges involved in the Ardoyne parade dispute arrived at police lines led by the Ballysillan banner on Saturday

One of the Orange lodges at the centre of a long-running parading dispute in north Belfast has suspended its protest.

The Twaddell Avenue protest has been ongoing since July 2013.

It began after a Parades Commission determination not to allow a return leg of an Orange parade to pass a section of the Crumlin Road.

In a statement, the Ballysillan lodge said it will continue to apply for an evening parade past the Ardoyne shops.

Released on Friday evening, the statement criticised some of the groups involved in recent attempts to resolve the standoff.

Image caption The protest camp at Twaddell remains open

However, it said the lodge had been left with no choice but to suspend the protest.

This does not mean the protest is over.

Two other north Belfast lodges, Ligoniel and the Earl of Erne, who had backed a proposed deal to end the Ardoyne parade dispute, will continue their protest.

Resolution

The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast said it respects the decision by Ballysillan "to suspend their participation in any further protests regarding securing a homeward parade along the Crumlin Road".

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The loyalist protest at Twaddell Avenue has been ongoing since July 2013

However, speaking after a parade on Saturday, the County Grand Master of the Orange Order in Belfast, George Chiddick, insisted the protest will continue until a resolution is found.

That means the protest camp at Twaddell, which was set up in 2013, will remain open.

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Media captionBallysillan decision 'does not mean protest is over'

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said any move towards ending nightly protests at Twaddell Avenue was "to be welcomed".

"People in the area will be relieved at any such move," he said.

Image caption The Orange Order says the nightly protest parades at Twaddell will continue despite the withdrawal of Ballysillan lodge

"Sinn Féin has been consistent in our support of inclusive dialogue involving local communities and parade organisers in order to arrive at a resolution to these issues."

Talks aimed at resolving the dispute involving Ligoniel and the Earl of Erne lodges and a nationalist residents group, the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), are expected to resume within a matter of weeks.

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