APPEAL TO AVOID TWELFTH VIOLENCE
* Kelly jailing discourages parade stewards
North Belfast is "a tinder box" and people could be killed amid
tensions over contentious July 12 marches, Gerry Adams has
The anti-Catholic Orange Order has been given the green light to
parade throught the republican Ardoyne area on July 12 against
the wishes of local residents in the most controversial parade
of the marching season thus far.
A major British military occupation is to descend on the area to
force the parade through against local opposition.
The Ardoyne shops were the scene of serious violence last July
12th, with some republicans intervening to save the lives of
There is even greater danger of trouble this year at Ardoyne
shops because some former IRA prisoners who helped to police the
scene last year have threatened not to assist this Twelfth, in
protest at the jailing of local man Sean Kelly.
No reason has been given for the jailing of Mr Kelly, who had
been released under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Kelly had worked to maintain calm during previous Orange parades
in the area.
British Minister David Blunkett pulled out of a visit to a job
centre in west Belfast on Friday in the face of a republican
protest against the move.
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams told a Belfast press conference earlier
this week that an extremely volatile situation had been created
as a result of rulings on marches through nationalist areas.
Mr Adams also said that following the return to prison of Sean
Kelly, he would not be putting pressure on any former prisoners
to act as parade marshals.
"Some former prisoners may well still step forward and I
appreciate that, but I can understand why no-one released on
license would want to risk incarceration," he said.
Sinn Fein is now seeking a formal review of the Parade
cCmmission's decision to allow a parade through Ardoyne and is
investigating the possibility of a legal challenge.
Mr Adams said the Orange Order was insisting on marching through
nationalist areas where it was unwelcome.
"I understand, support and appreciate the right of the Orange
Order to march. However, they need to engage in real and
meaningful dialogue with local residents."
Mr Adams said there was a need to think ahead in dealing with
"People could be killed in the middle of all of this and indeed
sectarian tensions are already inflamed," he said.
Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein representative for north Belfast met with
Dublin's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern this week in
an effort to resolve the problem. He was accompanied to the
meeting by local residents who are members of the Ardoyne
Mr Kelly revealed that the Ardoyne residents had put forward a
compromise position which would, in the short term, help ease
tensions around the Twelfth parades.
The Minister was said to have agreed to raise nationalist
concerns with the British government and the Parades Commission.
Meanwhile, Orange Order 'Grand Master' Robert Saulters has said
the organisation's policy is still to refuse to talk to groups
"fronted by IRA/Sinn Fein" -- but it could change when the
order's leadership meets after the marching season in September.
He also denied he had set out last week to criticise Orange
Order members who had been involved in local discussions with
residents and others in west Belfast and in Derry.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness challenged the remarks, and said
Protestant opinion now accepted that dialogue between marchers
and residents was necessary.
"There is a tide of opinion within the Protestant community
advising the Orange Order to get sense and to recognise that
they should be talking to people," he said.