Talks on the horizon with ‘Boys’ and Garvaghy group

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Round table talks between Portadown’s four Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) Clubs and the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) are on the cards following the banning of the ‘Boys’ parade route on Saturday’s ‘Derry Day’.

Both sides have intimated they are willing to discuss the issue after the GRRC objected to the parade commission that the ‘feeder’ parade organisers had applied for a route via Woodhouse Street, Park Road and Castle Street to take them from Carleton Street to the buses at Edenderry.

The police had sanctioned the route as non-contentious “due to an clerical error”, which both sides dismissed. The parade was re-routed through the town centre. The ‘Boys’ took it to the High Court on Friday night for a judicial review, but lost.

ABOD spokesman Kyle Moore said, “We wanted the route close to the park, which is being ‘sold’ as a shared space in the £6m refurbishment. But we were determined to keep the law. Now, we want to set up talks with the GRRC, to discuss our culture and to make the point that the park must become shared space. Our route didn’t include the Garvaghy Road or Obins Street. Park Road is ‘mixed’ - Protestant, Catholic and migrants.”

GRRC spokesman Breandan Mac Cionnaith said, “We would be willing to talk to the ABOD, but the route was never on. This is mainly a nationalist area, and nobody walks from Carleton Street to Edenderry in such a roundabout way.” He added that talks would have to have “the right structure and the right agenda”.

The GRRC has consistently refused the offer of talks with Portadown Orange District over the Drumcree dispute.