Ardyone braces for Twelfth stand-off
Ardyone braces for Twelfth stand-off

There are fears that serious violence will erupt after the Parades Commission allowed the anti-Catholic Orange Order to march twice through nationalist Ardyone on July 12th.

Heavy clashes erupted when a similar parade was allowed to pass Ardoyne on July 12 last year, in scenes repeated again two weeks ago.

It was hoped that a breakthrough might come after a historic deal last week saw agreemen with nationalsit residents for an Orange Order march in Derry for the same day. That deal could yet be undone by the dispute in north Belfast.

Fr Aidan Troy of Holy Cross, the Ardyone school which has seen intense sectarian violence in recent years, urged last-minute dialogue to avert trouble.

He appealed for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to personally intervene in the dispute.

“I am very concerned that once again this community will be plunged back into violence next Tuesday,” he said.

“Even at this late stage I would appeal for dialogue between the two sides.

“We are now facing a very dangerous situation, with the potential for serious violence.

“I pray that no residents, marchers or policemen are hurt, but I am not optimistic that this community will be able to get through another parade.”

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said the commission decision would mean that nationalists living in Ardoyne, Mountainview and the upper Crumlin Road would be “imprisoned” in their own homes for the entire day.

“The Orange Order was willing to talk to nationalists in Derry and in west Belfast but refused to speak to residents in Ardoyne who had offered to compromise on the parades’ issue,” he said.

“Sinn Féin will be there on July 12 trying to keep the peace but the Parades Commission should be in no doubt how much the people of Ardoyne feel betrayed by this decision.”

Meanwhile, in keeping with decisions in previous years, the march on Sunday from Drumcree will be re-routed away the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh.

Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition spokesman Breandan Mac Cionnaith said the potential for more trouble, following a number of incidents in Portadown over the last few days, remained.

“You have the Drumcree march on Sunday, the loyalist bonfires lit on Monday July 11, then you have the county demonstration on July 12, the potential is there,” he said.

“The town had been relatively peaceful for a long period, a lot of people were surprised by the severity of some of the (recent) loyalist attacks.

“There has been no movement by Portadown LoL. Early this year, the commission had invited the Orange Order and ourselves to discuss mediation. The Orange Order never turned up... Nothing has been happening down here at all.”

In west Belfast, an Orange march heading to the main Orange parade in the city on the Twelfth will be permitted to march along Workman Avenue in the Whiterock area.

However, Orangemen are not being allowed to use the same route for their return march home in the evening.

A similar march was postponed on June 24th last following a rerouting order from the commission. Orangemen were told they could not parade along Workman Avenue and were ordered to march through the former Mackies engineering plant instead.

The marchers postponed their parade in protest and held a demonstration the following day instead.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News