Ex-Ardoyne priest Fr Aidan Troy does a U-turn over call to let Orangemen parade
The Catholic priest who rose to prominence during the Holy Cross dispute has backtracked on his support for a controversial Orange Order parade past Ardoyne to go ahead.
Fr Aidan Troy had said the offer of a goodwill gesture by the Catholic community in north Belfast, where he once ministered, would offer a message of peace to other communities in strife around the world.
Fr Troy, who is now based in Paris, made his plea on his blog as he commented on the Gaza conflict in the Middle East.
But the Passionist priest yesterday distanced himself from his earlier proposal, and removed it from the blog. He said his article about Gaza had "had a far greater response than I expected".
"I appreciate the many positive and supportive reactions. Others were upset by the question I raised about a possible response in north Belfast," the priest from Co Wicklow added.
"I am freely editing out the question on a possible response in north Belfast lest what I raised could distract from sincere efforts being made by people in the area.
"The present 72-hour ceasefire will give some relief. My prayer is that this will extend into a long-term peace. Thanks to all who responded to my personal comments."
Fr Troy was at the centre of international attention during the 2001-02 Holy Cross Primary School protests when Catholic children were subjected to a daily gauntlet of abusive and often violent protest by protesting loyalists.
This year's parade past Ardoyne was restricted by the Parades Commission, but the Twelfth passed peacefully. Last year there was major loyalist violence, while republicans rioted in previous years when the march was allowed.