A new residents’ group in north Belfast has said it will resist any future sectarian parades through the nationalist community in the area.
The Greater Ardoyne Residents ‘ Collective, which includes high-profile republicans opposed to the Stormont administration, said it would strongly oppose the annual parade past the contentious Crumlin Road interface.
Last year’s marching season saw three days’ of rioting, the worst witnessed in the North of Ireland in years.
“The violence is a by-product of an unwanted sectarian march,” the group’s spokesman, Paul Carson, said.
“Take away the march and you take away the violence. It’s common sense.
“There is an alternative route for this march through Forthriver where it would greeted with open arms, so why should it continue to be forced past Catholic homes and businesses?
“What we have done is to properly consult with the wider community through a door-to-door survey which is the first time that consultation of this type has ever taken place.”
The group said it delivered 2,600 surveys to homes in the Ardoyne and Mountainview areas and received 1,119 responses.
“Out of that only four households said they thought the current situation is acceptable. The rest were opposed to the march.” Mr Carson said.
“As far as I’m concerned that is conclusive. The people have spoken.
“This is not about a denial of people’s culture but a simple case of march where you’re wanted.
“Many of us have previous experience with the parades commission and have come to the conclusion that dealing with them is a complete waste of time.
“If it is forced upon us again this year we will be strongly opposing it.
“If that means sitting on the road and blocking it then so be it. If the PSNI use force against us then they do.
“The fact remains that people don’t want this march and until now all the politicians have done is use them as a negotiating tool to the detriment of this community.”