A LEADING member of the Alliance Party has accused the Orange Order of having “limited credibility” after its refusal to talk to residents groups.
Dr. Philip McGarry – who is the President of the Alliance Party – made the claim after a statement released by the Orange Order confirmed its “unwillingness” to talk to residents groups.
The Alliance man said the Orange Order had “no legitimate reasons” for opposing direct talks with residents groups after its recent meetings with convicted killers during the Drumcree stand-off.
“The Orange Order gives the impression that it refuses to talk to local residents as a matter of fundamental principle,” said Dr. McGarry.
“But this argument has very little credibility as Orange leaders have already met with convicted killer Kenny McClinton and two years ago at Drumcree they were happy to talk with the late Billy Wright of the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
“The Orange Order’s position is further weakened by its persistent breach of law over the last few weeks in refusing to call upon its members to go home and accept the lawful decision of the Parades Commission.
“The fact that the protest at Drumcree was used a base for a gunman to shoot at the security forces, for a nail-bomber to cause injuries (to the great satisfaction of the crowd), and for other violent acts prevents any reasonable person from understanding the Order’s self proclaimed opposition to people because of alleged involvement in violence.
“Given recent events, there is no alternative and no reasons why the Orange Order cannot enter into direct contact with local residents groups who live along contentious parade routes,” added the former Belfast City councillor.