22 May 1997 Edition

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Mowlam meets residents groups

British Direct Ruler Mo Mowlam sent a clear message on Wednesday to all concerned with contentious parades when she said, ``agreement must be sought at local level between residents and parade officials and the only way this can been done is through dialogue''.

Mowlam was speaking after meeting residents of the Ormeau Road and representatives of Lower Ormeau Concerned Community (LOCC) on the Ormeau Road, Belfast.

Unlike her predecessor Patrick Mayhew, Mowlam went to meet the residents' groups and was praised for doing so by both the Dunloy Residents and Parents Association and Garvaghy Road Residents Association who she also met earlier in the day.

Under minimal security the Labour MP was warmly greeted by all groups who said they believed Mowlam was genuine and listened intently to what they had to say. A spokesperson for the LOCC said, ``This meeting has given LOCC the opportunity to present to Marjorie Mowlam our view that loyalist parades on the Lower Ormeau Road over the last number of years have been intimidatory, offensive and provocative and that the policing of those parades has involved major human rights abuses against Lower Ormeau Residents''.

He added ``The meeting between Marjorie Mowlam and LOCC exposes the hypocrisy of the Orange organisations which refuse to meet with us. We urge them to drop the spurious excuses which they have put forward in the past and to immediately respond to our many offers of talks''.

Mowlam also met Orange Order chiefs from County Armagh on Tuesday evening. She was joined on her visits by Labour's security minister Adam Ingram.

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