Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Ardoyne protest group vows to bring thousands on to streets

A Republican protest group has vowed to bring thousands of people on to the streets to block any Orange parades going past the Ardoyne shops.

"We will block the road," said Dee Fennell, a spokesman for Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC).

He confirmed loyalist claims that his organisation had delivered this uncompromising message to the Parades Commission shortly before it banned a one-off parade from using the route on June 7.

"We told the Parades Commission that in the past we have shown our willingness and ability to use radical means to stop parades taking place. We said we would do so again if permission had been granted for a parade to take place that Saturday. We would have mobilised people and we would have blocked the road," he said.

Mr Fennell denied claims by some unionists that GARC had predicted that police officers could be shot or attacked in the disorder as happened in previous disturbances.

"We specified peaceful protest," he said.

GARC's attitude casts a cloud over the 12th of July when the north Belfast lodges hope to march past the shops on their way to the field in the morning and back again in the evening.

Yesterday Rev Mervyn Gibson of the Orange Order suggested that GARC should be included in discussions on the Ardoyne parade alongside CARA, another residents group which is prepared to consider a parade in the morning.

"We need to talk to all the groups together," Rev Gibson said. However Sinn Fein has rejected the idea, saying that any talks with GARC should be separate.

Mr Fennell said that GARC was willing to talk to the loyal orders but would not agree to any parades past the Ardoyne shops.

Instead it would suggest an alternative route, part of it along waste ground which would need resurfaced.

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