No agreement in parade talks

The march takes place on Saturday

Talks between nationalist residents and a loyalist lobby group to try to break the deadlock over a contentious Orange Order parade in west Belfast have ended without agreement.

Nationalist residents of the Springfield Road held a series of preliminary talks with the newly formed the Parades Forum, which includes senior loyalists, unionist councillors and Orange Order representatives, on Thursday evening.

The talks follow a ruling by the Parades Commission to bar Orangemen from walking down the Springfield Road during the annual Whiterock parade on Saturday.

The commission is reviewing its decision.

A statement issued by the Parades Forum following the talks said: "We can confirm a range of exploratory meetings have taken place today to create a process of meaningful dialogue on an ongoing basis."

Residents spokesman Sean Paul O'Hare described the meeting as constructive.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has called for calm over the next few days and appealed to everyone to exercise restraint.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland is to meet Orange Order representatives on Friday to discuss security surrounding the parade.


The proposed route would have taken the march from the Orange Hall on the Shankill - around neighbouring streets - then down Ainsworth Avenue, across to Workman Avenue and onto the Springfield Road.

It is at this point the parade has been stopped, barring marchers from proceeding up the Springfield Road, along the West Circular and back towards the Shankill.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Chris McGimpsey said he hoped the talks between the forum and residents would resolve concerns.

The forum will also meet the Parades Commission in a bid to have the ruling on Saturday's parade overturned.

The Parades Commission had cited previous breaches of codes of conduct for the restriction.

Nationalist residents had threatened a protest along the route if the Orangemen had been allowed through.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

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