SENIOR figures within the Grand Lodge of the Orange Order have met with Richard Haass in Belfast.
But it appears that Orange Order chiefs don’t want an alternative to the Parades Commission which they want completely scrapped.
The delegation was led by the Grand Master of the Orange Order in Ireland Ed wards Stevenson.
Also on the delegation were: Grand Secretary Drew Nelson; Deputy Grand Master Rev Alistair Smyth; Assistant Grand Master Raymond Spiers and the Institution’s Director of Services, Dr David Hume.
The Orangemen presented Dr Haass and vice chair of the inter-party talks, Prof Meghan O’Sullivan, with a preliminary submission on parading.
Mr Stevenson described the one-hour meeting as “very cordial” and an “extremely beneficial exercise”.
He added: “We look forward to continuing our engagement with Dr Haass and his team – along with the other Loyal Orders and wider Unionist family – over the coming weeks.”
After meeting the US diplomat Dr Haass, the order’s deputy Grand Master Rev Alistair Smyth said the proposals for an alternative Parades Commission, put forward by a DUP/Sinn Féin working group three years ago were “too complicated.”
Speaking outside the Europa Hotel, Rev Smyth said: “There were various reasons why those proposals did not go forward, including the whole complicated nature of them.
“Therefore with regard to what eventually does happen we are starting as it were from ground zero and building up to arrive at something that will be acceptable to our membership.”
He said the talks with Dr Haass and his team were “constructive” and dealth solely with the issue of parades. They plan to meet again to discuss the issues of flags and the past.
Rev Smyth also called for the removal of the Parades Commission saying it “must absolutely go.”