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13 June 1997 Edition

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Garvaghy residents reply to Orange letter

By Stephen Delaney

Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) have again urged the Orange Order to enter into immediate dialogue to help resolve the marching issue. They emphasised that they are willing to meet with Orangemen any place and any time to discuss the matter. The appeal was made by the GRRC who sent letters to over 1000 Orangemen in response to a letter the residents received last week outlining the Order's intentions to parade on the Garvaghy Road in July.

The letter sent on behalf of the Portadown nationalists outlines their sincere and genuine attempt to deal with many of the misconceptions concerning GRRC's campaign to have an agreed rerouting of the Drumcree parade in Portadown each summer.

The GRRC letter also states:

``We accept that in an ideal society everyone should enjoy the right to the full freedom of expression of their political and civil beliefs. Those rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of one's political civil and religious beliefs. We also recognise and accept the reality that due to the political conflict which has taken place on this island for many years and for the past three decades in particular we live in an abnormal society. Events in Portadown in recent times are also significant.'' The letter pointed out that recent events including the murders of Michael McGoldrick and Robert Hamill were brought about because of tensions arising out of Drumcree.

GRRC again called on the Orange Order voluntarily to reroute the parade down the nationalist Garvaghy Road, concluding;

``As we prepare to enter the new millennium, both sides agree to play a full role in creating a society based on justice and equality of treatment for all citizens in Portadown, in which every encouragement would be given to the establishment of mutual respect and understanding.''

 


It has been revealed that the cost of loyalist protests at Harryville is in excess of £2 million. The RUC's bill alone is almost £1.5m.
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