Saturday 17 February 2018

Unionists pull out of latest parade talks

Unionists have pulled out of the latest political talks in Northern Ireland in protest at a decision to ban a contentious loyal order parade from passing a nationalist community in Belfast.

The Government appointed Parades Commission adjudication body cited the potential for public disorder and negative impact on community relations among its reasons for preventing the July 12 parade proceeding along the Crumlin Road, which is adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood.

The Democratic Unionists and Ulster Unionists have said they are withdrawing from negotiations at Stormont as a result.

The determination was made on the second day of the latest round of political talks at Parliament Buildings aimed at resolving outstanding peace process issues, including the thorny problem of parades.

In recent years serious rioting has broken out linked to the evening parade.

In the years when it was given permission to pass the Ardoyne, republicans rioted.

When it was banned last year, loyalists rioted in the nearby unionist community in Woodvale. Loyalists have manned a protest camp at the community interface ever since, requiring a policing operation costing almost £10 million.

In a combined statement, the DUP and UUP, in conjunction with smaller unionist and loyalist parties, called for a peaceful response to the commission's decision.

They added: "The DUP and UUP will end their participation in the now fruitless leaders' talks."

Online Editors

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