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30 June 2013 Edition

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Editorial: Policing and parades

Editorial | Eagarfhocal

The issue of contentious parades will only be resolved when the loyal orders sit down and talk to the residents in the areas they seek to march through.

THE INTERVENTION by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly in the arrest of a teenager in the wake of the Orange Order’s ‘Tour of the North’ parade on a Friday evening in north Belfast has provoked a lot of comment about the actions of the former junior minister and member of the Policing Board.

Any impartial viewing of the video evidence of 21 June shows that Gerry Kelly was trying to de-escalate a volatile situation in the aftermath of a contentious parade that had breached Parades Commission determinations and in the aftermath of unionist attacks on local nationalist homes.

If the PSNI officers who told the local elected representative they would pull over to the side of the road to take the details of the mother of the detainee had kept to their word, Gerry Kelly would not have been left trying to stop other vehicles in the convoy and clinging to an armoured Land Rover’s bonnet to avoid falling under its wheels.

Local Sinn Féin MLA and Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín received hospital treatment for torn ligaments in the incident.

Kelly later described the PSNI action as “reckless and dangerous”.

But the bigger issue remains.

The issue of contentious parades will only be resolved when the loyal orders sit down and talk to the residents in the areas they seek to march through.

It can be done.

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