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Parades (Drumcree/Garvaghy Road)

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

4. What steps he is taking to contribute to the resolution of the Drumcree/Garvaghy road parading dispute. (204419)

We remain committed to finding a successful resolution and we support the position of the Parades Commission that local dialogue is the best way to achieve this.

Further to that point, does the Secretary of State agree that no one who refuses to engage in that dialogue ought to be rewarded for their refusal?

Let me begin by paying tribute to the work that the hon. Gentleman has done in trying to achieve dialogue between communities on matters relating to parading, and particularly the work that he has done with the Portadown District Orange to encourage it to enter into dialogue—he was referring specifically, I think, to the Garvaghy road residents. He has helped to move the order to engage without preconditions or a predetermined outcome. I praise him fully for his work with the community. I hope that others in the community will now recognise that they should match that transformation and engage in the dialogue. I encourage all members of the community, regardless of the history, to enter into that dialogue.