Kenny, Cameron discuss escalating tensions over parades

Decision by unionist parties to veto talks days before height of the parades season discussed

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron have spoken by telephone to discuss escalating tensions in the North following a decision to ban a contentious parade in Belfast in the coming days

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron have spoken by telephone to discuss escalating tensions in the North following a decision to ban a contentious parade in Belfast in the coming days

Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 13:06

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron have spoken by telephone to discuss escalating tensions in the North following a decision to ban a contentious parade in Belfast in the coming days.

The Taoiseach and Mr Cameron spoke this morning to discuss the implications of five unionist parties walking out of discussions with other political parties on what can be deemed acceptable across civic society, such as the display of flags and parade routes.

The unionist delegations left the talks in response to a decision by the Parades Commission last week to prohibit an Orange Order march from returning along the Crumlin Road area of North Belfast. The parade will be allowed to take that route in the morning and pass the nationalist Ardoyne area but cannot return that way. The negotiations are dealing with outstanding issues still unresolved following the process chaired by US diplomats Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan.

It is understood that Mr Kenny and Mr Cameron spoke for between ten and fifteen minutes this morning. In the context of heightened tensions and the possibility of violence, a spokesman said that both leaders agreed that there was an onus on all parties to ensure that the situation remained calm in the run-up to the peak of the marching season this month.

The spokesman said that both men had also given their unflinching support for the Northern institutions and all the agreements as they existed at present.

During the course of the conversation they empathised that nothing could be resolved without dialogue and that ending dialogue could not provide an answer to any of the outstanding issues.

Both governments remain fully engaged on this issue, the spokesman added.