Peaceful 12th result of ‘hard work and dialogue’
LOCAL MLAs have commended the work which went on behind the scenes to ensure the controversial Twelfth parade in Crumlin passed off peacefully.
Many residents had been opposed to the village hosting the South Antrim Combine parade involving 50 bands and the seven districts of Lisburn, Hillsborough, Aghalee, Magheragall, Ballinderry, Derriaghy and Glenavy.
It had been feared that tensions over plans for 70 Orange lodges from the seven districts and dozens of bands to parade in the village would lead to trouble, but an agreement was made on Wednesday night.
That saw tricolours taken down throughout the mainly nationalist area and bunting put up to celebrate the Twelfth - in return, the Orange Order voluntarily decided that visiting bands and lodges would not return towards Crumlin.
The Parades Commission had previously ruled that only the Glenavy host district could return through the village, with all others stopping on the outskirts.
Sinn Féin MLA for South Antrim, Mitchel McLaughlin, welcomed the outcome of the hard work that was carried out through direct dialogue between Crumlin Residents’ Association and the Orange Order to ensure that the parade passed of peacefully.
“Following the outcome of what were very fruitful discussions in which all sides aired their fears and concerns, a series of agreements were reached regarding the conduct of the parade, flags, emblems etc, which set the scene for the peaceful day that was experienced in Crumlin on Thursday,” Mr McLaughlin said.
He added: “I also acknowledge and welcome the unilateral decision taken individually by six Orange districts, who were not permitted on the return route, to make their protest directly to the PSNI at the field and then to board buses to return to their eventual destinations and complete their march.
“I believe that this mature gesture made a significant contribution to the overall peaceful outcome.
“The face to face talks between the Orange Order and the Crumlin Residents’ Association, facilitated by a third party, despite coming at the last minute were significant and achieved much that can form the basis on which we can build on the excellent community relations that have existed
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“in the village of Crumlin for a very long time.”
And, Mr McLaughlin said he hoped other areas where there are contentious marches will benefit from the Crumlin template.
“I believe that those districts where distrust and contention still exist should take the approach of the Crumlin Residents and the local Orange leadership on board and use it as an example of what can be achieved through respectful dialogue,” Mr McLaughlin said.
He added: “We have had a 12th of July in Crumlin which passed off without incident through a process of dialogue. We now have an opportunity to build on this which should be grasped and built on.
“Congratulations to everyone who helped make it happen.”
UUP MLA Danny Kinahan also added his congratulations too all involved “for working together and hammering out a workable plan to resolve all the concerns that this parade seemed to be causing”.
“I genuinely congratulate the PSNI ,the political parties and especially the Orange Order and the residents group for hammering out the successful deal,” Mr Kinahan said.
He added: “Next time I suggest that discussions start at an earlier stage, and that all community groups and their leaders and all political parties and their politicians and all the parading bodies meet at a much earlier stage and discuss the parades in outline.
“Instead of resolving matters early we create a crisis, unnecessary tensions and this sort of situation must not be allowed to happen again.”
Meanwhile, the Crumlin Residents’ Association said it was through “hard work and dialogue” that resulted in a peaceful day.
“This result did not come out of a vacuum. There was a lot of hard work that took place on behalf of the residents of this village to ensure that the rights and the safety of those who live in Crumlin were respected and upheld,” a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added: “This process of dialogue we believe needs to be revisited in the coming weeks in order to further improve relations in this area. It was dialogue that help us manage and diffuse a tense situation and it is dialogue that will help us to reach a resolution to outstanding issues.”
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Weather for Antrim
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South