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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Orangeman 'met with republican'
The Orange Order Whiterock parade was suspended
The Orange Order Whiterock parade was suspended
The Orange Order's west Belfast district master has taken part in talks involving one of the city's most senior republicans, the BBC has learned.

They took part in discussions leading up to last Saturday's postponed Whiterock Parade.

Billy Mawhinney - the most senior Orangeman on the Shankill Road - and republican Sean Murray were involved.

The Order says it does not engage in face-to-face negotiations with residents' groups or republicans.

However, there were a series of meetings involving the Springfield Residents group and the North and West Belfast Parades Forum.

Sitting in these sessions as part of the forum was Mr Mawhinney and Mr Murray.

The meetings were regarded as confidential and chaired by Duncan Morrow, the chief executive of the Community Relations Council.

'Intend to reapply'

They discussed the plans for the Whiterock Parade - including security, music, flags and the size of the march.

While progress was made - no agreement was reached.

That led to the Parades Commission's decision to re-route the march through the old Mackie's Factory Site.

The Orange Order said that was unacceptable and postponed the march - but they intend to reapply in order to hold it some time later this summer.

Nationalist Springfield Road residents welcomed the postponement. Sinn Fein said dialogue was needed on both sides.

The order said it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.


SEE ALSO:
Appeals for calm over city parade
24 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Commission rejects march appeal
23 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Ombudsman looks at march policing
20 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Parade clash 'wake-up call', Orde
19 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland


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