Adams seeks meeting with Orange Order14/07/2012 - 18:24:30
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has today called for a meeting with the Orange Order following violence at a Belfast flashpoint where contentious parades were held.
He said the organisation must open up dialogue with both his party and nationalist residents opposed to Orangemen parading through their communities.
"The Orange Order needs to step forward and make their contribution to the peace process," said Mr Adams.
"That means dialogue with residents. It also means dialogue with Sinn Féin.
"I have written to the Orange Order many times over the years seeking a meeting. I repeat that call again today. The work to prevent a repeat of this week's violence must begin now."
Up to 20 PSNI officers were injured in the violence, which erupted at the Protestant/Catholic interface at Ardoyne in north Belfast.
Hundreds of riot police moved in to keep factions from both sides of the community apart as Orangemen returned through the area following a July 12 parade marking the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.
A separate nationalist parade was held on the same day in protest at the Orange march.
Three blast bombs were thrown and up to 10 shots were fired by a gunman. Three cars were also hijacked in the riot scenes.
Mr Adams said it was a mistake for the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective to hold its counter march, saying it resulted in a rise in sectarian tensions.
He added that steps need to be taken to avoid further violence.
"I suspect that many decent Orangemen would far prefer people were talking about the many parades that pass without incident rather than about the scenes of violence surrounding a minority of parades," said the Sinn Fein leader.
"This won't happen while we get situations such as that in north Belfast."
Orange Order grand secretary Drew Nelson made history earlier this month when he became the first Orangeman to address the Seanad - the upper house of Ireland's parliament.
Mr Adams said the order should look to that step, and the historic moment when Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and former IRA chief Martin McGuinness shook the hand of Queen Elizabeth, as incentive to continue strengthening relations.
Meanwhile, four men were today remanded in custody after appearing in court in connection with the riots.
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