Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Dodds demands McGuinness apology

Orange Order
The Orange Order has held parades for two centuries

The DUP's Nigel Dodds has demanded an apology from Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness over comments he made about Orange Order parades at the weekend.

Mr McGuinness told a republican event in Strabane that the days of Orange Order marches through nationalist areas of NI had been "consigned to the past".

Mr Dodds said the deputy first minister's comments would not "instill community confidence".

The working party on parades issues is set to report on Tuesday.

Mr Dodds said that at a time when people were "strenuously working for a resolution to outstanding issues", Mr McGuinness had decided "to play to his own gallery with a cliche-ridden attack on the Orange Institution".

Mr McGuinness had made his comments at a republican event to commemorate the death of three IRA men.

"The Orange Order has to sit up and take notice that the world is changing all around them," he said.

"(They must) recognise that the days of triumphalist Orange marches through areas where they are not wanted have to be consigned to the history books forever."

Meanwhile, residents of two areas where contentious Orange parades take place, have written to the working party on parading issues.

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition in Portadown and the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community in Belfast have sent their views to the group.


The group is to report to the first and deputy first minister on Tuesday.

Spokesman Breandan MacCionnaith said they were worried the details of its findings might not be made public.

"This would be counter to any sense of openness, transparency and fairness regarding this process," he said.

The residents said they were prepared to meet with the working party.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said people were "very frightened and anxious that a parade down the Garvaghy Road is a price Sinn Fein is prepared to pay for the devolution of policing and justice".

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd said Ms Kelly was "talking nonsense" and was seeking "to cause unease within the nationalist community in Portadown in a blatant attempt to score political points".

Ulster Unionist MLA Fred Cobain said there was "a lack of transparency around the whole process" of the parades issue.

The DUP and Sinn Fein had set up a six-strong group to review parading following the Hillsborough Agreement.

Speaking at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in County Tyrone on Saturday, Orange Order Grand Master Robert Saulters said the Order was concerned about new proposals drawn up by the working group.

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness said the Orange Order must change its ways

Initially, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Royal Black Institution welcomed the establishment of the working group as they believed it would pave the way for the abolition of the Parades Commission.


The remit of the six-strong DUP/Sinn Fein parades working group is to agree a framework for dealing with what is a particularly controversial issue in Northern Ireland.

Three Democratic Unionist and Sinn Fein members have been tasked with designing a new and improved framework to rule on controversial marches, including a focus on local solutions, mediation and adjudication.

Nationalist residents in mainly working-class areas such as north Belfast and Portadown in County Armagh oppose Orange Order processions in their areas because they view them as triumphalist.

Members of the loyal orders accuse residents of going out of their way to be offended and maintain it is their traditional right to demonstrate on the streets.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific