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29 July 1999 Edition

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British government rewards Orange Order

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition are seeking immediate meetings with Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair to voice their ``strenuous opposition'' about new British government guidelines on disputed parades.

The proposals set out in the new Public Possessions Act, which become law on 31 July, will allow the Orange Order to avoid direct dialogue with residents seeking to resolve disputed marches.

The new guidelines set down in the Act also give the Parades Commission the discretion to choose who they can talk to about a contentious march.

``These new rules shift the goal posts significantly towards the loyal orders,'' said Breandán MacCionnaith of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition. ``They replace the Parades Commission requirement for sustained and substantive dialogue with merely a process of communication''.

Residents groups believe that the Orange Order have been granted these concessions as a payback for the ``relative calm'' of the marching season.

``Nobody knows what `a process of communication' means, can the Orange Order now make their demands merely in a letter?'' questioned MacCionnaith.

``We are confident that anyone the Parades' Commission speaks to in this area will relay the total opposition of the community to Orange parades,'' he said.
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