Orange Order challenged on marches
The Orange Order was today challenged to make a contribution to the peace process by stopping attempts to march through Catholic areas.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that while the IRA, loyalists, political parties and governments have made significant steps forward over 15 years, the Orange Order has refused to budge.
Delivering a speech at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown, Co Kildare, the Sinn Fein MP said the leadership of the Orange Order can no longer abdicate its responsibilities. Mr McGuinness said: "Now is the time for the Orange Order to step forward. There are hundreds of Orange parades each year. Only a few cause controversy. It is these I want to focus on.
"The days of republicans stretching ourselves and our communities to maintain calm in the face of sectarian provocation cannot last forever. It is time for the issue of contested parades to be dealt with once and for all."
Stormont's Deputy First Minister called on the Orange Order to declare they will no longer seek to force parades through Catholic areas.
"Anything less from the Orange Order is an abdication of their responsibility and will have to be viewed as such by both governments – and in such a scenario that means a clear statement from both that nationalist communities will no longer be subjected to these sorts of triumphalist parades and measures taken to ensure that this happens," he added.
An Orange Order spokesman said the Deputy First Minister's comments were a disappointing attack on the Protestant community. "For years, Sinn Fein policy has been to make life as difficult as possible for parade organisers," the spokesman claimed.
"They have totally failed to understand that parading is an integral part of the Protestant culture.
"The Orange Order is working very hard to make its parades more family friendly and welcoming, particularly to tourists, and these remarks from the Deputy First Minister are extremely unhelpful."
Elsewhere, Mr McGuinness told Sinn Fein members that the Fianna Fáil and Green coalition has lost its moral authority to govern. He said the Government was sent a strong and clear message from the people in the recent elections that it needs to go, adding a new political alliance for change must be built to turn the country around.
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...