As we enter the Summer months and the marching season beckons, many are fearful that the political vacuum could lead to a long and problematic Summer ahead. While we all hope that all marches will pass off peacefully and without contention, the intransigent attitude of the Orange Order does not bode well. The same group that refuses to meet with residents to discuss their concerns is also refusing to meet the Parades Commission. This is a very disapointing and unhelpful stance, yet I suppose we should expect no better.
The way forward in these situations is dialogue, as has been shown in Derry where the Apprentice Boys have liased with the Bogside Residents to ease tension in the lead up to contentious marches. If the Orange Order refuse to behave in a similarly responsible and mature manner then they can have no complaints if the Parades Commission decide to curtail their activities.