Marching season appeal
Marching season appeal

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams made a weekend plea to Ian Paisley's DUP to play a leading role in ensuring a peaceful Protestant marching season.

He made the call as the party leadership met in Dublin to discuss their strategy for the return of the Belfast Assembly on May 15.

Members have been recalled primarily to see if they can elect a new power-sharing executive, but also to fill a dangerous political vacuum ahead of wehat is traditionally the most violent time of the year in the North of Ireland.

A second post-summer session is also planned, which must end by November 24. No agreement is expected at least before the summer.

Speaking after the strategy meeting Mr Adams said: "Sinn Féin will be in the assembly on May 15 to try to bring about the return of the power-sharing government.

"This is the business that the assembly members were elected to do. The electorate has been waiting for almost three years for this to happen."

He said everyone knew the coming months would be difficult.

"We are also facing into another marching season. This situation will only be made worse if the political vacuum continues. I want to urge the DUP to play a leading role in ensuring that the marching season is peaceful."

Meanwhile, Parades Commission Chief Roger Poole has been criticised after he tried to defend Orangeman Don McKay after he publicly admitted working within the Commission for the ends set out by the Orange Order. Mckay's appointment to the Commision, seen as a desperate sop to unionism, is becoming increasingly controversial as the marchiong seasonm continues.

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd branded the defence of McKay "a pretty pathetic effort".

"The reality which both Roger Poole and Don McKay seem to have failed to grasp is the fact that in the eyes of the nationalist community Mr McKay's position as a Parades Commissioner is untenable.

"The process to appointment him in the first place was abused and the comments of Mr McKay since in addition to previous legal cases he has been involved in demonstrate clearly to nationalists that this individual should have no part in deciding the future of parading.

"Roger Poole's defence of Mr McKay while being pretty pathetic does have the effect of undermining confidence in his ability to chair this Commission in an impartial and fair manner. Mr Poole would be better off seeking Mr McKay's resignation instead of leaving himself open to public ridicule by going onto the media and defending the indefensible."

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© 2006 Irish Republican News