6 February 1997 Edition

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Harryville tension rises

By Eoin O'Broin

DUP leader Ian Paisley has given his support to a loyalist band parade being organised for this coming weekend at Harryville in Ballymena. The band parade will bring the 22 week old picket of St Mary's Catholic Church to a new high.

South Belfast UDP representative Pauline Gilmore, a member of Ormeau Residents Demand Equal Rights (ORDER) has vowed to join loyalist protesters in Harryville on Saturday evening.

Following the collapse of mediated talks last week between Dunloy Parents and Residents Association (DPRA) and the local Orange Lodge, Paisley entered the vacuum with a set of proposals which he maintained would resolve the problem. The belief is that Paisley is attempting to make a direct link between the loyalist protest at Harryville and the Dunloy Orange parades.

The mediation talks broke down when the Orange Order ended contact with intermediaries. Speaking on behalf of the Order John Finlay said there would be no further discussion. He said; ``The residents group could not deliver, and that is the fundamental flaw - they don't seem to want to deliver or cannot deliver''. The DPRA's offer of allowing one parade through the predominantly nationalist town was unacceptable to the Lodge.

However the DPRA said they ``remain committed to searching for a resolution to this conflict which will be acceptable to all sides''.

Meanwhile on the Upper Ormeau Road in South Belfast, loyalist leaflets have been handed out calling on people to boycott Catholic owned business.
Sinn Fein South Belfast constituency representative Sean Hayes believes the leaflet was written and distributed for the sole purpose of heightening sectarian tensions in the area prior to the marching season.

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