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SDLP praises 'positive' resolution

(Alana Fearon and Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

Orange Order resolutions for Thursday's July 12 demonstrations show the institution's "continuing path towards political progress," it has been claimed.

The resolution, which calls on members of the Orange Order to take on "a role of civic and community leadership within these islands" has been described by SDLP North Antrim assembly member Declan O'Loan as on the whole "very encouraging".

In this year's resolution the order affirms that it is watching with interest the developing political situation and that it sees Sinn Féin's success in the recent elections as a test it must not fail.

Mr O'Loan said: "This is a major advance on previous positions taken up by the order. I have no difficulty in understanding their concerns about those who are in government who were previously involved in violence, but taken as a whole the Orange Order stance is very positive."

Mr O' Loan said that the positive wording of the resolution should be considered alongside unprecedented moves by the Order to open up conversations with the Parades Commission, the Catholic Church, the SDLP and some local residents.

It also fits in with moves in many communities to rethink the bonfire culture and the flying of flags.

"This is all very healthy. There is a profound link between the shifting of positions on these matters and the success of the Assembly.

"Success in these two arenas will be mutually reinforcing," said Mr O' Loan.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin is due to meet senior police officers in Lisburn this morning over concerns about an illegal loyalist parade in the Co Antrim village of Stoneyford earlier this month.

The meeting is also expected to discuss a parade planned for Stoneyford on July 11 following an illegal march in the Co Antrim village two weeks ago.

"The fact that an illegal march took place in the village and no-one has been arrested is something we'll be raising with the PSNI," Mr Butler said.

"We'll be making it very clear to the PSNI about what steps they must take to develop the trust and confidence of Lisburn's nationalist community."

Mr Butler said he would also be raising concerns over the ongoing loyalist intimidation of Catholics in the Stoneyford area in recent years.

Thousands of Orange men from both sides of the border attended Saturday's traditional pre-twelfth parade in Rossnowlagh, in south-west Donegal. The parade passed off without incident.

July 10, 2007

This article appeared first in the July 9, 2007 edition of the Irish News.

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