I am writing to you on behalf of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (G.A.R.C.) Our body is made up exclusively of local residents and has allegiance to no political parties or groups. We are residents NOT dissidents. Our aim is to ensure that the human rights of the people of greater Ardoyne are fully respected and that there is no repeat of the violence of recent years visited upon our community. It is our intention that the people of greater Ardoyne want simply to be left in peace and that existing Loyalist marches are re-routed away from our district.
In our opinion, the violence of July 2009 was inevitable given a number of factors. Firstly, the ignorance and arrogance of the Parades Commission to permit a Loyalist parade through a Nationalist area where it was not welcome. Secondly, the determination of the P.S.N.I. In forcing the parade through at all costs created an atmosphere were violence erupted. According to a recent FOI request, the cost of policing this parade was over £650,000. The cost to our community was even higher with three days of violence, police raids, fear and restriction on resident’s movements.
In order to ascertain what residents wanted done, G.A.R.C. In consultation with external researchers, carried out an extensive survey. The results were both significant and clear, some 99% of residents stated that the present arrangements were completely unacceptable and needed changed.
The key finding in this survey is that almost 90% of residents throughout greater Ardoyne find these contentious parades unacceptable in any form and want them re-routed. This survey was completed and signed by over 1100 individual households.
We are eager to engage in dialogue with persons from any political or community background to highlight the findings of the survey and attempt to map a peaceful way forward. We call upon your Party/Organisation to contact us and support our calls to end these unwanted sectarian marches and help us build a peaceful future. G.A.R.C. Fully support the right of all groups to parade in a peaceful manner, as long as, they adhere to the human rights of others and march only where they would be welcome.
Only by standing together can we achieve this aim, so your support, physically at our pickets, protests, letters, e-mails etc, to the local media or through your Party paper/magazine etc will break the cycle of violence. Our motto is clear; No Parades - No Violence. Copies of the survey findings and an alternative proposed route are available upon request. Please feel free to contact us at the email address at the top of this correspondence.
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective