The organisers of a highly controversial sectarian parade in Dublin, which had to be abandoned after heavy rioting last year, have said they have cancelled plans to hold another similar march through the capital later this year.
Willie Frazer, spokesman for the organisers of the march, said they had cancelled the parade after they had been told that senior members of the government, including the Taoiseach, would be prepared to meet them for talks, possibly at the end of September.
However, the main reason for cancelling the parade was to avoid it becoming a focus of protest by republican traditionalists.
Donaldson, who attended last year’s Love Ulster parade, said it had taken several weeks of shuttle diplomacy between Irish officials and Frazer to arrange the compromise.
“I was concerned that dissident republicans would once again attempt to undermine, through violence and public disorder, the objectives that the organisers of the march have set for themselves,” said Donaldson.
“We were able to get agreement in principle that meetings would be held with the taoiseach and with representatives of the main political parties in the Irish parliament.
“The event in Dublin will showcase Ulster-Scots culture and give people in the south a better insight into the protestant community in the north. It will also give victims from places like South Armagh and the west of the province an opportunity to tell their story.”
An events company is preparing a report on possible venues but both Donaldson and Frazer said the Mansion House would be high on their list because it has frequently used for historic events.
It has been the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715. Its Round Room, which is often used for conferences, was the place where the first Dail met in 1919 and issued the Irish Declaration of Independence.
“The Mansion House would have a certain irony about it given that Sinn Féin has used it in the past for their propaganda,” said Donaldson. “There could be no more appropriate place to bring out the truth of what republicans did to the Protestant community.”