Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 16:37 UK

Orange parade passes peacefully

The Parades Commission had ruled only 50 marchers be allowed to walk through
The Parades Commission had ruled only 50 marchers be allowed to walk through

The contentious Orange Order Whiterock parade in west Belfast has passed off peacefully.

The Parades Commission had ruled only 50 marchers be allowed to walk through peace line gates onto the mainly nationalist Springfield Road.

About 150 nationalist residents staged a peaceful protest.

Earlier, the leadership of the Orange Order said it would not meet Sinn Fein until republicans express regret for their role in the Troubles.

Grand Secretary Drew Nelson's comments came after it emerged Orangemen from the Portadown area had met the party's president Gerry Adams.

This was to discuss the Drumcree parade which has again been banned from going along the Garvaghy Road.

"As an organisation we had over 300 members murdered," Mr Nelson told the BBC's Inside Politics programme.

"If there is going to a fresh start in Northern Ireland, I think we have to hear those words of sorrow and regret from the leadership of Sinn Fein."

Mr Adams said he made it clear there was "no rationale for an Orange parade along the Garvaghy Road" and "urged them to involve themselves in a process of inclusive dialogue" with residents.

Portadown district master Darryl Hewitt said they hoped the talks could help to resolve the long-running dispute.

"It was just another step that Portadown district officers have taken to try and seek a resolution to the impasse," he said.

"We have to wait and see what developments, if any, come out of it."

Meanwhile, Parades Commission Chairman Roger Poole has welcomed the peaceful outcome to the annual Whiterock parade, but urged a long term resolution to the issue.

"It is vital that when there is disagreement on parades that all sides adhere to decisions of the commission," he said.

"The commission also acknowledges the positive approach adopted by those involved in managing today's event."

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