“They are conversations – they are not negotiations, they are not mediation…”

With the draconian approach of the elected representatives in Sinn Féin and the DUP abandoned, and long-forgotten, the extant Parades Commission have appointed a trio of intermediaries to have ‘conversations’ with unidentified others in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.  From the BBC report

Lord Alderdice is involved in the initiative, along with the Holy Cross priest Father Gary Donegan and the former Presbyterian Moderator, the Reverend Norman Hamilton.

He admits there is no guarantee of success.

Dr Hamilton said: “The Parades Commission have asked us to have some conversations with local community leaders to see if we can reach some sort of accord, particularly around the parading issues in the area.

“They are conversations – they are not negotiations, they are not mediation. They are conversations to see if an accord can be reached.”

The group has already started work, and the dialogue is expected to intensify the closer it gets to the start of the marching season.

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Its good to talk, although I hope the trio havea good milage allowance to travel the length and breadth of the country to talk to the agrieved “resident” protestors, if they are lucky they might even get a trip to Spain.

  • lamhdearg2

    i will put more trust in the “unidentified others” explaining there is no alterative route, than i would in messers Hamilton and Alderdice (nice guys that they are) to get any movement from the G.A.R.C

    “there is NO such thing as an acceptable Loyal Order march through our area and we exist to give the majority of residents an option to resist them”.

  • sherdy

    Looks like the Parades Commission are setting others up to take the blame when things go wrong this year.

  • wild turkey

    Dr Hamilton said: “The Parades Commission have asked us to have some conversations with local community leaders ”

    dumb questions 117 and 118

    117. how do the three musketeers identify the ‘community leaders’ with whom they wish to have a conversation? is there a list? is there a website nornironlandselfproclaimedcommunityleaders.co.uk/ie?

    118. in my district; a former flashpoint not to far from the ardoyne as the crow flies, there are also community leaders. many community leaders.

    some are genuine individuals dedicated to ameliorating, if not solving, community tensions and differences

    some are plausible understudies to the muppets and

    some you would just love to see in the ring with Ali in his prime.

    oh yeah, the question 118 is, how does one become a community leader?

    note to trolls and the whatabouts.

    both the above questions are raised with a genuine curiosity so genuine responses would be appreciated. i know. fat chance

    … and i do wish the three musketeers the best of luck in their exercise in futility

  • Fr.Tom

    let the cost of policing the parade be born by the LOL.

    sectarianism is not a freebie anymore folks !

  • “is there a website”

    This one might shed some light, Wild Turkey.

  • Fr.Tom

    what part of marching in unwanted areas is non-sectarian triumphalism?
    perhaps you could argue rather than ignorantly handing out a yellow !

  • wild turkey

    thanks nevin

    ah yes, conflict resolution. how remiss of me….

    when my children were younger, with respect to local politics and associated hangers on i tried to teach them to be sceptical of half what they see and most of what they are told.

    i used the example of a tree. when they looking at a tree, the tree they saw above ground, was generally only half the tree. the other half being below the ground. roots……

    conflict resolution….

    “…lets have a conflict and then resolve it
    give us the readies, we’ll chill and solve it.
    your point of view can be legit in fine
    cos in a land of equals it should agree with mine”

  • lamhdearg2

    Could someone give A.R. a poke, i would like to here his views on this.

  • tacapall

    lamhdearg there is nothing to say other than let those who are at least making an effort to resolve the situation try.

  • lamhdearg2

    tacapall, i wish them success, A.R. is on the inside, so to speak, so i would like to hear his view.

  • “the draconian approach of the elected representatives .. ‘conversations’ with unidentified others”

    Perhaps the draconian approach is still there but is less evident to a ‘lazy’ media.

  • Firstly chairde, I welcome any kind of talks which hopes to address parading and associated riots that take place annually in and around Ardoyne.

    I hope that ‘Lord’ Alderdice, Fr. Donegan and the Rev. Hamilton have talks with everyone concerned as a way out of the problem. These problems have dragged the Nationalist community of Greater Ardoyne and the Unionist community of North Belfast down for much too long.

    I accept that Unionists have the right to parade to celebrate their culture and commemorate their brethan. However, in the context of Ardoyne I believe they should march where they are welcome.

    These marches are clearly unwelcome in the Greater Ardoyne area and as such they create conflict year in and year out.

    In a bid to assist Alderdice, Doneganm and Hamilton all planned parades through Ardoyne should be suspended. I would also ask that as CARA only represent a section of the Ardoyne community that GARC are also included in any talks which take place.

  • “However, in the context of Ardoyne I believe they should march where they are welcome.”

    AR, are you suggesting that the majority view should prevail? Minorities in other places are often at the receiving end of retaliation that often follows this lack of toleration.

  • Nevin, I’m suggesting that the talks would be helped by a suspension of ongoing parades through Ardoyne. I’m also suggesting that GARC are also spoken to because without their input nothing will be achieved.

  • lamhdearg2

    A.R. first of all, thank you for your input, as a resident of ardoyne and as someone with knowledge of the G.A.R.C. position.
    If this group speak with G.A.R.C., and i think they should, would/could you see an accommodation being reached that would see the Legoniel and Ballysillan lodge’s walking from their hall to the city centre via the crumlin road, and what do you believe the lodge could do either before this happens or in return for this happening, to help the G.A.R.C. except the presence of the lodge’s.

  • AR, are you not concerned about the wider implications for places where Catholic communities are in a minority?

  • L.D. Glad to see that you feel the above group should speak with GARC chara.

    I can only speak from my personal point of view and not on behalf of GARC. However, if GARC was asked it’s analysis it would be pretty progressive.

    Regards the actual route and the mechanics etc, that could also be found in the context of a peaceful resolution if the various Loyal Orders suspended marches during such talks. As a continuance would only add to the problems.

    If there was a suspension however, all participants would be able to discuss everything in a better atmosphere.

  • lamhdearg2

    “I can only speak from my personal point of view and not on behalf” Dito.
    surely any suspension of parades would need to be part of the “talks”, rather than a precondition, albeit a part that would want nailing down as quickly as possible, to ensure progress, however the “talks” and any suspension would need to be time limited, to ensure that there are no feelings of bad faith due to procrastination.

  • Nevin, of course I’m concerned about all those areas as well. However, are we not discussing Ardoyne and how the issue about Loyal Orders parades through that community are sorted chara?

  • L.D., I not posing the suggestion that Loyal Order parades through Ardoyne are suspended as any kind of precondition chara. What it is, is just that a suggestion to allow talk participants a breathing space to attempt to resolve this contenious problem…

    If the Orders insist on marching while talks are taking place, that in my opinion would only hinder those talks and could create further problems for all those involved.

    The human rights of marchers and residents need to be addressed in an equal manner and that’s the paradox..How to ensure peoples’ rights are respected chara? The recent Court case against GARC protesters did not inspire confidence in the Justice System when those who peacefully protested were convicted of charges, akin to criminalising those basic human rights.

  • lamhdearg2

    i will not go into the rights and wrongs of said court case’s at this time.
    Would you except that the fact* there has been no application for a parade to pass Ardoyne in conjunction with may19 Balmoral review is an act of good faith, and could/should be reciprocated or at least acknowledged.

    * as far as i am aware.

  • Yea, I do welcome and acknowledge that there’ll be no parade passing Ardoyne in May chara. It may well be asking too much, but I’d hope that this would be the case for the remainder of the year…

    The reality is that working-class communities throughout North Belfast have more things in common than we don’t. There is good work taking place and a huge reduction in sectarian troubles. That too is to be welcomed and acknowledged chara.

    Unfortunately, since 1970 these parades marching past Ardoyne have been a festering sore and seem insurmountable. However, with a little honesty and leg work this can also change.

    I understand that some within the Loyalist community may have issues with GARC and myself but without dialogue, they will never know how progressive people can be…

  • AR, none of these contested space issues operate in isolation. Your suggestion for suspension would probably be seen as a pre-condition, if not in that part of Belfast quite possibly elsewhere in the city or much further afield. I can hear echos up here in Moyle, some of them dating from the Athboy strategy and earlier.

  • lamhdearg2

    from the bbc
    “A group trying to resolve the dispute over contentious parades in north Belfast say they have not been able to broker a deal, so are ending discussions for a while.”

    meanwhile The garc group has put in a late request to the parades com, to have a parade that would clash with the orange orders 12th of july parade, as it and its supporters make their way home in the evening.

  • lamhdearg2

    Parades Commission rules on Ardoyne march,

    The parade has been ordered to return by 4pm,

    Is this possible, they dont leave barnetts untill 4:15

    or am I missing something

  • lamhdearg2

    Its a 3 hour walk, the parades com want the lodges to leave The Field (Barnetts demesne) before they get there.

  • Reader

    ArdEoin Republican : If the Orders insist on marching while talks are taking place, that in my opinion would only hinder those talks and could create further problems for all those involved.
    There are 365 days in the year, do the talks have to happen in July?
    ArdEoin republican: The recent Court case against GARC protesters did not inspire confidence in the Justice System when those who peacefully protested were convicted of charges, akin to criminalising those basic human rights.
    Were the charges related to any breaches of Parades Commission rulings? And should PC rulings apply with equal force to all sides, or should they only apply to unionists?

  • Mister_Joe



  • lamhdearg2



  • Mister_Joe

    Don’t need one; can do it myself. See photo.

  • lamhdearg2

    I also do myself, but I have a full head of (short) hair.

    Do you remember the belfast 12th parades from your youth joe, one gets up very early in the morning. dresses in ones best attire, meets up with kindred spirits, and sets off to Parade to “The Field”, then after a rest and refreshments, one Parades back to where one started.
    the parades commission, in its/this ruling, is telling the lodges they can not do this.

  • Mister_Joe

    And nothing should ever change? One of the (many) reasons I left N.I. was my disgust at the inability of people to compromise.

  • lamhdearg2

    compromise. how to compromise with “NO Parade”,
    People should watch this Parade come the 12th, the morning parade will pass peacefully as it should/could in the evening, However in the afternoon/evening a bunch of hate filled Bigots who are still working to the theory of, trouble on the streets = death for Northern Ireland = Good, will attack the parade, the parade com, will then place more restrictions on next years parade, and those for whom trouble = good, will see that trouble is the way to go.

  • Mister_Joe


    My problem was not with one side not compromising; that takes two. And “NO parade” would not be a compromise.

  • Mister_Joe

    Don’t forget; “Never never never” came to an end as did “Not an ounce, not a bullet”. Both of those required a lot of compromise.

  • lamhdearg2

    Route changed, no music, no banners, no drum beat, no supporters, each year the parades com adds more restrictions to the parade, each year the parade is attacked, each year the people from the side engaging in the violence are encouraged and further facilitated in their attacks by the Parades com decisions.
    this year the parade com restriction RE, “back past by 4pm”, is tantamount to, no parade, the north and west belfast parades forum are to meet and respond to the “restriction”, I dont see how they can work with it, however you(I) live and learn,

  • lamhdearg2

    DUP politicians have described the restrictions imposed on the contentious Orange parade through the Ardoyne area in north Belfast as “appalling that this outrageous”.
    Earlier this week, the Parades Commission ruled that the march must be clear of the interface at the Ardoyne shop fronts by 4pm on the Twelfth.
    In a joint statement Nigel Dodds MP and MLAs Nelson McCausland and William Humphrey claimed the decision had rewarded dissident republicans.
    They were speaking after meeting with representatives of the North & West Belfast Parades Forum on Friday night.
    “It is appalling that this outrageous determination in relation to a long-standing return parade has been devised in order to accommodate a new protest parade by dissident republicans,” their statement read.
    “At a time when the courts are sending out a message of severe sentencing for those who have engaged in rioting, the Parades Commission is sending out the opposite message by punishing the law-abiding Orange lodges and rewarding dissident republicans protesters who have engaged in violence year after year.”
    They added: “In the context of the new talks initiative, entered into by the Parades Forum in good faith, this draconian determination is incomprehensible and entirely counterproductive and will set back the prospects of reaching agreement.
    “Once again this discredited and unaccountable Parades Commission has demonstrated that it is part of the problem, not part of the solution for parading and protest issues.”