Belfast Telegraph

GARC gripe over kids' street party 'pathetic'

By Staff Reporter

A north Belfast residents' group has been described as "pathetic" for complaining about a street party for children.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) posted a message on social media yesterday claiming it had been contacted by local residents who said they felt intimidated by what the group termed "a number of illegal roadblocks including one at Cambrai Street" in the Woodvale area.

"We would ask people to avoid the Shankill area today for their own safety," the message added.

But DUP MLA William Humphrey poured scorn on the message and said the event at Cambrai Street was simply a children's party.

Speaking after visiting the party, Mr Humphrey said he was astonished to read Garc's interpretation of the event.

"I wish to commend the local parents who organised this Friday afternoon street party as an early 'Eleventh' party for local children," he said.

"It was a pleasure to attend part of the event along with my colleague Alderman Brian Kingston and even to join in a fun sumo wrestling bout.

"I was astonished to hear that GARC had described this event as intimidating for a number of Ardoyne residents. This claim is embarrassing and pathetic.

"GARC are so obsessed with provoking tension between the communities that they have totally undermined their own credibility by this utter rubbish."

Mr Humphrey went on to claim that a sinister comment had been posted under the original message and said he had reported it to the PSNI.

"We have reported these comments to the PSNI and will be pressing for this matter to be pursued with utmost vigour," he said.

The Woodvale/Ardoyne interface has seen violence in previous years over loyalist parades passing through the area as nationalist residents protested.

A Parades Commission ban on an Orange parade sparked a loyalist protest camp at Twaddell which stayed in place for three years.

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