Ardoyne tense ahead of parade
There are concerns that potential violence could erupt if an Orange Order parade is forced through the republican Ardoyne area of north Belfast.
Dozens were injured in rioting over several days following last year’s Twelfth march at the north Belfast interface.
Protests are being mounted in the area and trouble is again feared if the return leg of the Orange march is forced through the republican Ardoyne this evening.
A huge policing operation is currently underway in the area amid reports that the PSNI has drafted in reinforcements from Scotland.
A residents group that has been urging people to show solidarity with the protest against the parade yesterday asked protesters “to refrain from any acts of violence”.
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective said violence “will achieve nothing only untold hurt and misery” and would detract “from the core issue of unwelcome acts of bigotry”.
Organisers of the provocative parade were criticised by a judge yesterday for refusing to meet community leaders in a bid to negotiate a solution to the situation.
In the High Court in Belfast, Mr Justice McCloskey said a local ‘official’ residents group, the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (Cara), had demonstrated it was willing to engage in dialogue with loyalist representatives, but they had not reciprocated.
The judge said the commission made it clear in its determination that the forum’s failure to engage in dialogue was unhelpful.
He was speaking during an application for leave to apply for judicial review of the decision by the Parades Commission to allow Orangemen through the overwhelmingly republican Ardoyne shops area.
The marchers “have not made appropriate attempts at engagement,” he said.
Tension escalated in the area following a sectarian attack on the home of a local Catholic family at the weekend.
Two windows were broken at the house on Ardoyne Road close to the loyalist Glenbryn area in the early hours of the morning.
North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Gerard McCabe said a woman in the house was woken by the sound of breaking glass at about 4.30am.
“When she went to the door, this woman was faced with verbal abuse from a number of people. She was in tear of her life,” he said.
Mr McCabe appealed for calm in the run-up to the Twelfth commemorations next week.
“l would appeal to people with influence on the ground in the Glenbryn area to talk to young people around this interface and for commonsense to prevail as the Twelfth approaches.
“People are feeling vulnerable in the area at this moment.”
Eighteen major Orange demonstrations are taking place across the north including in Ballymena, Kilkeel, Ballygowan, Antrim, Cookstown, Newtownstewart and Belfast.
Many shops in Belfast city centre have decided to operate reduced opening hours again this year.
Yesterday, thousands of Orangemen took part in their annual pre-Twelfth parade in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.
Part of the parade route had been painted in green, white and orange the night before, although gardai reported no trouble during the march.