Irish American Information Service

07/15/04 16:13 EST

The SDLP and Sinn Féin today clashed over the violence
during Monday's Oroange Order march through Ardoyne.

The SDLP is in "disarray" over policing policy, Sinn Féin MP
Ms Michelle Gildernew claimed saying that while the SDLP's
Mr Martin Morgan and Mr Danny O'Connor were urging a rethink
of the party's policy towards policing boards, party leader
Mr Mark Durkan still backs them.

"The party leader tells us that the Policing Board is the
vehicle for accountability while other senior members are
calling for the party to leave the current flawed policing
structures entirely," Ms Gildernew said.

Mr O'Connor, a Larne councillor, demanded more action from
the PSNI after saying his elderly mother was threatened by
UDA men erecting a loyalist flag outside her home in the town.

And Mr Morgan, the former Belfast Lord Mayor, insisted his
party should reconsider its position on the Board if Parades
Commission restrictions on marches were flouted.

"It is obvious from these actions that the Policing Board
cannot deliver accountability and the SDLP have now come to
that realisation," Ms Gildernew said.

But SDLP MLA Mr Alex Attwood hit back, accusing republicans
of being confused and playing into the DUP agenda.

"We now have the grotesque spectacle where the DUP want to
destroy the Parades Commission and Sinn Féin are helping
them do it. It is Sinn Féin who are in disarray, calling
the Parades Commission defunct and thereby feeding the
agenda of the DUP, elements in the NIO and people in the
Orange Order who want to tear it down."

The West Belfast Assemblyman said that while the Parades
Commission have made mistakes they have been "a force for good"

He went on to criticise the chairman of the Policing Board,
Prof Desmond Rea's claim today that the PSNI had no option
when it allowed loyalist supporters join the Orange march
through the Ballysillan / Ardoyne interface on Monday.

While only Orange Lodge members were supposed to take part
in that part of the march, loyalists joined in leading to
clashes between the nationalists and police who had formed a
human cordon around locals who had lined the route. Prof Rea
said the police were in a "no-win situation" when they
allowed the march proceed through the west Belfast flashpoint.

Mr Attwood said: "He needs to stand back and see the damage
that has been done by bad government and bad policing."

Not only had the police got it wrong in Ardoyne, but they
and the Northern Ireland Office had undermined the Parades
Commission, he added.

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