NO PARADE - NO VIOLENCE
The following text was printed in the latest G.A.R.C. NEWSSHEET delivered to every home in the greater Ardoyne area last night Thursday, July 9th 2010.
'We met with CARA and the Parades Commission on Friday 4th June to agree on the process. So important was this to both sides that there was agreement to meet again on Monday 7th June. At that meeting CARA made it quite clear that they wanted the two return home evening parades (Tour of the North and Twelfth of July) withdrawn and they would not oppose any morning parades’
...(Shankill Mirror - June, 2010)
C.A.R.A. held a public meeting in Ardoyne Hall on July 1st, 2010; the above statement was put to CARA by a member of the public.
At first its spokesman, Joe Marley denied the compromise saying, ‘People shouldn’t believe everything they read in newspapers, especially the Shankill Mirror’.
However, he later confirmed that this was indeed their compromise when he stated that; ‘CARA’s strategy is to have evening parades stopped and to completely sanitise morning parades so that the Orders will become so frustrated that they will stop parading altogether’.
CARA also outlined it had met the Irish Government, David Ford, the Parades Commission and the North & West Belfast Parades Forum to what end? Given that the discredited Commission has once again kicked this community in the teeth by permitting more unwelcome displays of drunken bigotry through our area. History has proven these marches inevitably led to unwelcome violence! So much for dialogue.
Contrary to what some claim, it is evident that dialogue with this quango offers our community nothing but repeated sectarian marches through Ardoyne. It is also clear that CARA’s proposed compromise fell on deaf ears.
C.A.R.A. cannot properly reflect the views of everyone in the greater Ardoyne area, since it only represents a section of residents. Therefore, the question is why are the rights of a majority of residents being ignored?
During one of our Pickets, GARC was approached by Tommy Cheevers (North/West Belfast Parades Forum) and members of the Twaddell/Woodvale Residents Association. During the brief chat, they gave us a phone number and asked for a formal meeting. Our Collective agreed to make contact through the Trade Union Movement to clearly articulate our opposition to unwelcome parades.
However, the meeting didn't take place because ‘it was not possible as a meeting with dissident republicans wouldn’t go down well’, within their community. This was conveyed through the same channels outlined by UVF boss, Winkie Irvine in an interview to the News Letter on 18th June, 2010.
Irvine also alleged that, ‘channels of communication are open and those channels are telling us clearly that dissidents are planning violence and mayhem’. He also alluded to GARC being; ‘dissident republicans intent on disrespecting Orange and British culture’.
These words were backed by Sinn Fein’s, Gerry Kelly who issued a similar statement, congratulating CARA and accusing GARC of being; ‘self-styled, non-elected and unconstituted. He ended by outrageously stating, ‘they are hell bent on provocation’.
As the Lower Ormeau Community and the Garvaghy Road Residents stated recently; ‘The solution is to focus on the small number of contentious loyal order parades that can be resolved by obliging the organisers to take an alternative route. The re-routing of contentious parades is neither new nor radical. The European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights recognise that restrictions, including route restrictions, can be placed on parades to protect the rights of others, or to prevent disorder’.
GARC have proposed an alternative route which has been endorsed by over 1100 households in the greater Ardoyne area. Some however, have attempted to rubbish our viable proposal because of party-political motivation.
It is our intention that residents and NOT political parties should decide what is right. In spite of political smears, GARC will not allow the rights and opinions of a majority of residents in the greater Ardoyne to be ignored and besmirched.
G.A.R.C. APPEAL FOR SUPPORT
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective call upon all opponents of sectarian marches in the area to attend our PEACEFUL PROTEST and stand shoulder to shoulder with us on the 12th of July. ONLY TOGETHER can we STOP being treated as SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS in our own community at the behest of sectarian bigots.