The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective or G.A.R.C. was formed after an Orange Parade was forced through the Ardoyne area last July.
Prior to the march, dozens of residents attempted to demonstrate their opposition to the unwelcome parade but were prevented from holding a peaceful protest due to the hostile actions of the RUC/PSNI. This triggered a predictable response from young people which the PSNI responded to in time honoured fashion with batons, water cannon and plastic bullets. Afterwards, a number of public meetings were held to prevent future parades from taking place and ending the cycle of associated violence.
In September a meeting took place in Ardoyne Hall attended by a large group of local people, most of who left after being informed that they couldn’t be members of C.A.R.A (a Sinn Fein dominated group with their own agenda which represents no-one’s interests other than their own) because they didn’t live within a particular catchment area.
Local people felt they were being disenfranchised from helping to form the new group. During the remainder of the meeting, a number of residents were verbally insulted by an elected Politician. In direct response a group of residents met with Brendan McKenna of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition G.R.R.C. and were introduced to a number of Human Rights specialists.
G.A R.C.’s mission was to consult with the widest number of residents in the greater Ardoyne area and ask their opinion regarding Loyal Orange marches and what they think should be done in the future.
It is clear that the two-Party Deal on parades sealed between the DUP and Sinn Fein is a further attempt to exclude other political parties and ordinary people from the decision making process and allow these parades to continue unopposed!
Our work is to re-empower the residents of Ardoyne and ensure that their voices are heard above any other. We want our summers free from sectarian marches !
Human Rights Compliance of Loyal Order Marches:
Before carrying out the survey we sought advice from human rights specialists and statistical experts who said we should carry out a sample survey of about 400 homes. However, the Collective felt that everyone affected had the right to express their opinion so every house got a form delivered to it.
Some weeks ago we received the report back from the independent experts and we are releasing it today. The full report will be available to all interested parties on our new website in the coming weeks.
Over 1100 fully completed forms were returned to the surveyors. These forms were independently verified, signed off by the residents.
Out of the completed responses;
89.4 % or 1000 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parades were not acceptable and must take an alternative route.
10.3% or 115 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parade could march only with the following strict conditions without music or Loyalist emblems as acceptable, so long as there is no return march in the evening!
0.4% or 4 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parades were acceptable.
It is clear that the overwhelming majority of greater Ardoyne residents find Loyal Orange Order marches completely unacceptable.
Some 99% of residents of all residents stated the present arrangements were completely unacceptable and needed changed.
Almost 90% of residents throughout greater Ardoyne find this contentious parade completely unacceptable in any form and want it re-routed.