Adams: Time for Orange Order to contribute to peace process

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on the Orange Order "to step forward and make their contribution to the peace process".

Adams: Time for Orange Order to contribute to peace process

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on the Orange Order "to step forward and make their contribution to the peace process".

It follows the annual 12th of July parades in Belfast on Thursday, when at least 20 officers were injured when violence flared between republicans and loyalists in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

Speaking in Dublin following a meeting of the party’s Ard Comhairle, Deputy Adams said recent events including the handshake between Martin McGuinness and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and

an address to the Seanad by a senior Orange Order member were important steps in the process of national reconciliation.

“These steps must now be built upon in practical ways that make life better for citizens," he said.

Deputy Adams said that every year, communities in the North are "held to ransom" by a small number of contentious Orange parades.

“I suspect that many decent Orangemen would far prefer people were talking about the many parades that pass without incident rather than about the scenes of violence surrounding a minority of parades," he added.

“This won’t happen while we get situations such as that in North Belfast.

"There the Orange Order bussed marchers along part of the route where a parade is welcomed to parade through an area where it is not.

"There is no rationale for the return parade past Ardoyne.

The Sinn Féin leader said Ardoyne residents have been waiting over 15 years for dialogue with the Orange Order.

“The Orange Order needs to step forward and make their contribution to the peace process," he said.

"That means dialogue with residents.

"It also means dialogue with Sinn Féin."

The Sinn Féin leader said he had written to the Orange Order seeking a meeting.

"The work to prevent a repeat of this week's violence must begin now," he said.

Four men have been charged with a number of public order offences in relation to Thursday's disturbances and are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates' Court later today.

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