13 April 2006

Loyal Orders see hain and now wait for SDLP talks

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
13 April 2006

The three main Loyal Orders have met Secretary of State Peter Hain to push for a shake-up of the legislative framework covering parades, it emerged today.

But no date has yet been fixed for the potentially ground-breaking meeting between the Orange Order and the SDLP.

"It is just a problem of diaries. We understand they are very keen to hold the meeting as soon as possible," an Orange spokesman said.

Mr Hain was said to have been "very encouraging" of the Orange initiative in seeking talks with SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

But the Order said Mr Hain was "in listening mode" over its refusal to engage with the Parades Commission, even though it now includes Portadown Orangemen David Burrows and Don Mackay.

At last week's meeting were Orange Grand Master Bobby Saulters, Billy Logan, Grand Master of the Black preceptories, and their Independent Order equivalent, DUP MLA George Dawson who claimed the current legislative framework was prejudiced against the Protestant community and lacked transparency.

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