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Priest says quiet march shows both sides weary in Northern Ireland


The relative peace of this year's Protestant march to Drumcree church may be a signal that both sides have grown weary of the violence, according to a priest who lives in the area.

"Everyone's reaction has been a sigh of relief. People on both sides of the divide are really getting tired of this dispute," said Jesuit Fr Michael Bingham, who lives in the Catholic neighbourhood along Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

In previous years, the parade, led by the Order of Orange, a Protestant fraternity, has been marked by violent protests involving thousands of people. When Protestant fraternities hold parades through Catholic neighbourhoods, Catholics often view them as signs of triumphalism.

Fr Bingham said support for the Order of Orange has slipped over the past year.

"The order's stance on refusing to talk to either the parades commission or with Catholic residents is being seen, more and more, as obstructive," he said.

This year, the Drumcree march followed Saturday's funeral of Ciaran Cummings, 19, a Catholic youth killed in a drive-by shooting last Wednesday.


CNS


11-Jul-01