[Sinn Fein]

15 July 1997

Adams supports Garvaghy residents five point plan

Speaking as he visited the residents of the Garvaghy Road this morning the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP said:

``The residents five point plan presented provides an imaginative basis for the resolution of this issue. The civic forum is clearly an inclusive structure for the creation of a shared future for all the people of Portadown.

``I commend the people of Garvaghy Road, especially the young people, for their restraint in the face of provocation by the Orange Order and loyalist organisations. In many ways the treatment of the residents of this area is symptomatic of the treatment of nationalists throughout this statelet. The situation here is outrageous. Every night we see loyalists throwing nail and pipe bombs and petrol bombs. People are understandably asking why are Orangemen able to gather here everynight and how are they able to get nail bombs into the area.

``Lets be clear about what the Orange Order hare trying to do. They are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. They campaigned against it and voted against it. They lost that battle at the ballot box and now they are trying to win it here on the Garvaghy Road. The Orange Order should call off their siege of this community and let the people here get back to a normal life.

``The focus has understandably, in recent times, been on the issue of orange domination. But this is only part of a wider picture. This area suffers from structured discrimination through a lack of social and economic infrastructure as well as other essential facilities. If the peace process is to work then it has to improve the lot of citizens here in their everyday lives. Portadown has to become a town for all its people in the same way Ireland has to become a country for all of its people.

``I uphold the rights of Orangemen to march. They also have to have a stake in the future but they need to know that no longer can one section of our people dominate another. I appreciate the difficulties orangeism is going through. But they need to engage. The Orange Order should engage in face to face talks with the local residents to avoid a repetition of what we have all gone through over the last week. Some voices within orangeism have been raised in opposition to what is going on. I welcome that.

``There have been a number of attacks on orange halls and a Protestant Church. I repudiate these actions.''

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