10 December 1998 Edition

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Apprentice boys to reroute march

By Padraig MacDabhaid

John McGivern of the Springfield Residents Action Group in West Belfast has welcomed reports that the Apprentice Boys have voluntarily rerouted a planned parade in the area on 12 December.

The Apprentice Boys initially planned to march down the nationalist Springfield Road to Workman Avenue. However, after meetings with the local residents group, the Apprentice Boys, despite their original unwillingness to compromise, are now said to have accepted the alternative plan put to them by the residents at a meeting on Wednesday 2 December.

The alternative route takes them from the the house of their president, Jackie Crowe, on Springfield Parade onto the West Circular Road missing the Springfield Road altogether. (Traditionally, Apprentice Boys begin their marches from their President's home.)

Said Mr McGivern, ``we hope this meeting sets a good precedent for next summer's Orange parade through the area as the Orange Order still refuses to talk to the residents' group''.

Despite the report that the Apprentice Boys have decided to accept the residents' proposed route Mr McGivern was critical of the Parades Commission who ruled that the Apprentice Boys could march on the nationalist Springfield Road in the first place.

Also he was angry that details of the first meeting between residents, Apprentice Boys and the Parades Commission, supposed to be confidential, had been leaked to the media, saying ``whoever leaked details of the meeting could have jeopardised the talks''. Both local residents and the Apprentice Boys have denied making the leak.

John McGivern said,''we are keen to facilitate a peaceful solution to this issue''.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1