REPUBLICANS have clashed with Orange Order chiefs over a fresh move to resolve the Ardoyne parade dispute.
On Sunday, the Orange Order said in a statement that it has applied for a parade this Saturday in the Ardoyne area.
The Belfast District said that if the parade was granted permission, talks could immediately after with local resident groups.
However, residents and Sinn Fein said the Orange Order’s public statement on ‘Twaddell Initiative’ was not the way to resolve the ongoing row.
In its public statement, the Orange Order said the parade this Saturday, October 5, would be made up of three Ligoniel lodges and two bands.
On Saturday, July 12, the Parades Commission banned the lodges and the bands in a feeder return from walking past the Ardoyne shops.
The Orange Order said talks with local residents about next year’s parades would begin as soon as the lodges and bands return to Ligoneil Orange Hall after the march.
“We believe the time is right to launch this initiative to resolve the present impasse and address the unique situation that the Parades Commission determination created at Woodvale,” the statement said.
“We are also conscious that the issue of parades, flags and the past are to be the subject of intensive and ongoing political discussion.
“A few moments of tolerance on a quiet Saturday morning can move the situation forward and create a positive platform, both for the 2014 parades and the Haass talks.”
Following the July 12 ban, rioting eurpted as Orangemen and loyalists attack PSNI lines blocking their return route
It resulted in 44 police officers were injured during three nights of rioting after the march was stopped.
The move by the Orange Order has been met with a cool reception from nationalist residents and Sinn Fein.
Joe Marley, spokesman for the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA), said the Orange Order statement was not the way to address the situation.
“I don’t think public statements or preconditions are a good basis on which to engage in genuine dialogue,” he said.
“We have stated time and time again, we’re up for dialogue, we’re up for engagement.
“We believe that none of the issues are insurmountable and we’ll go into it with a positive outlook and an open mind.”
North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said there should be no preconditions to dialogue.
“If the Orange Order are now saying that they will enter into dialogue on the 2014 parading season, that would be very welcome,” he said.
“However, this choreographed announcement to the media from the Belfast leadership of the Orange Order, the DUP, PUP and UUP is not aimed at resolving the difficulties that exist.
“On the contrary it is yet another attempt to undermine the Parades Commission.”
Mr Kelly said direct dialogue remained the best way to reach an agreement between local residents and the Orange Order.
Unionist and loyalist politicians welcomed the Orange Order’s proposal at trying to break the deadlock.
DUP leader Peter Robinson said the proposal had the full support of the DUP.
“The onus is now upon nationalism to show leadership and to respond positively to this genuine attempt to reach accommodation,” he said.
“They must face down the elements in their community who wish to drag Northern Ireland back.
“The act of sharing a main arterial route for a few minutes would boost community relations in North Belfast significantly and generate a positive atmosphere for the Haass process.”
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it had the potential “to trigger inter-community talks and to provide a positive platform for the current Haass talks process”.
“It is a positive and imaginative move, designed to move things forward for the benefit of all,” he said.
“The proposal takes into account the views put forward by nationalists and republicans many times concerning parades on the Crumlin Road.
“It is to be hoped therefore that this sincere and genuine initiative will be met by a demonstration of tolerance which will greatly improve inter-community relations in North Belfast.”
PUP leader Billy Hutchinson said he applauded the announcement of the “Twaddell Initiative”.
“I think in light of this announcement, the sensible option is for the parade to be allowed to pass peacefully in the next week, providing up to forty weeks for dialogue between all involved before next year’s demonstration,” he said.
“I think this also allows space for the Haas talks to take their course and for any recommendations that arise from these talks to be considered and taken account of.”