[Sinn Fein]

27 July 1998

Direct Dialogue needed in Derry

Sinn Fein Northern Chairperson Geroid Ó hEára has welcomed the comments of Orange Grand Master Robert Saulters indicating that the Order should talk directly to residents groups

Councillor Ó hEára said:

``Mr Saulters remarks may signify a welcome recognition from the Orange Order leadership of the necessity to engage in direct dialogue with residents groups and their representatives.

``Dialogue is the key to finding a resolution to the parades question and in the light of Mr Saulter's comments and with the Apprentice Boys march fast approaching, I am concerned that the parades Commission has failed to acknowledge that the Apprentice Boys have so far refused to talk directly to the Bogside Residents Group.

``The Parades Commission is on record as saying that the refusal of the Orange Order to talk to the residents of the Garvaghy Road influenced its decision not to allow them to march . The inaction and silence of the Parades Commission in relation to Derry ,however, would seem to sugggest that a decision has already been taken to allow this march to go ahead.

`` At last weeks Shared City Forum a number of people commented on the need to address the fears od isolated communities - Catholic and Protestant and last nights sectarian attack in the city, highlights the urgent need for the forum to act on the proposals for working groups to be immediately set up.

``It is incumbent on the Apprentice Boys to confront the same sort of intimidation and violence from loyalism which accompanied the Orange protests at Drumcree and to ensure that the scenes we witnessed are not repeated in Derry.

``Tension in Derry has undoubtedly been heightened as the march approaches and the Apprentice Boys have the opportunity and obligation to follow the lead of the Orange Order leadership and to sit down with the Bogside Resients Group in an effort to reach accommodation.''

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