24 May 2007 Edition

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Dialogue the way forward on parades

Sinn Féin group leader in the North’s assembly, Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd commenting on the first meeting of the Strategic Review of Parades Body today, said that progress on the parading issue will be on the basis of local dialogue and accommodation to resolve contentious parades.
O’Dowd said:
“Sinn Féin have already expressed reservations about the ability of Paddy Ashdown to act as an impartial and independent chairperson, however, many of the local appointees to the group do have a grasp and an experience of the difficult issue of contentious parades. The key to resolving contentious parades is local dialogue between marching orders and the communities they wish to march through. That is the lesson of the past ten years.
“This is a difficult issue which in the past has resulted in significant community conflict and unrest. It is an issue which needs resolved.
“This means groups, including the Loyal Orders, reflecting upon new political realities and seriously considering the motivation behind seeking to march through communities where they are clearly not wanted.”

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