12 August 1996
Negotiations needed now
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking in Belfast today pointed out that while the ``focus this month has been on marches and particularly on Orange marches, all of us know the marches are but a symptom of the wider political problem.''
Mr. Adams commended the residents of Bellaghy ``for the dignified and disciplined way in which they dealt with a difficult situation, which had been resolved just this morning.
``I would like to commend those other resident groups, in the Bogside, Dunloy, Keady, the groups in County Fermanagh and the Lower Ormeau Road who played a positive leadership role, and exercised a calming influence.
``I want to thank the observers from the international agencies, local human rights and peace groups and from political parties in the 26 Counties. These all played an invaluable part.
``The Apprentice Boys in Derry also deserve praise for their willingness to engage in dialogue with the Bogside Residents.
``Of course, it has to be said that the problem of contentious parades has not been resolved. It appears that we may still have a long way to go before the loyal institutions accept that they must seek the consent of the host communities for their marches.
``The Orange marching season is not over. There are a number of marches this month including Royal Black Perceptory demonstrations on the 31 August.
``Negotiations must begin immediately and the British government in particular must be pro-active in upholding the rights of host communities.
``Sinn Fein upholds the right of the loyal institutions to march but the days of them marching over people are numbered. It is worth reminding everyone that there are 3000 Orange parades. They are largely tolerated benignly by nationalists; however, there has always been a resentment about the triumphalist coat-trailing nature of some of these demonstrations. This year's crisis cannot be divorced from the cave-in on the Garvaghy Road and the curfew on the Lower Ormeau.
``Garvaghy Road was a march too far and if the loyal institutions are looking for someone to blame for their dilemma then they should look no further than David Trimble and Ian Paisley.
``The lesson of this month is that dialogue can work. The unionist leaderships need to be seeking accommodation not domination. The British government and the Irish government must apply themselves to bringing about equality of treatment for all citizens in this statelet. All of this is a necessary part of confidence building if we are to reconstruct a new and meaningful peace process.''
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