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5 August 2013 Edition

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A way forward for the Orange Order

Editorial | Eagarfhocal

THE Orange Order’s determination to continue its weekly protests over Parades Commission restrictions on its events in north Belfast is disappointing. It is hard to see what it hopes to achieve without a more rounded and conciliatory approach to resolving the contentious issue of marches and parades close to nationalist and interface areas.

The stalemate in Belfast is being exploited by elements opposed to the Peace Process to stoke tensions that then manifest in violence there and elsewhere.

Attacks on Protestant and unionist communities and places of worship are the antithesis of republicanism and repugnant to what the H-Block Hunger Strikers and countless thousands of republican activists have given their lives for.

This is not what republicanism stands for; its mirror image should not be what unionism stands for.

Despite the Orange Order’s stance, Sinn Féin maintains that, with courageous and imaginative leadership on all sides, we can find a way out of this impasse with constructive dialogue.

Accommodation has been achieved on the basis of equality and respect in other places (most notably in Derry City between local people and the Apprentice Boys), so why not in Belfast and with the loyal orders there?

Republicans are still willing to talk – are unionists?

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