24 April 1996
Adams writes to Smyth
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has urged the Orange Order, meeting tonight to discuss the weekend ban on its march on the Ormeau Road, to ``accept that residents in the Lower Ormeau bear them no ill-will but do withhold their consent for any orange march through their area''.
Mr. Adams wrote today to the head of the Orange Order Martin Smyth offering to meet him to discuss ``measures which might lessen tension in the months ahead''. He defended the right of the Orange Order to march and he reminded Rev. Smyth that he offered to meet him last year in an effort to lessen tensions.
The Sinn Fein President pointed out that the Orange Order must accept that ``while citizens have the right to march, that has to be balanced against the equal right of citizens to withhold their consent to marches which give offence from going through their area.''
Mr. Adams said:
``The Unionist and Orange Order leaderships, like the rest of us have a moral responsibility to give positive leadership to our people. We all have a responsibility to instil confidence and not fan the flames of division of division and hatred. I would urge the members of the Orange Order meeting tonight to respect the rights of their neighbours on the Lower Ormeau Road and to voluntarily agree to re-route.''
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