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DUP hits out at Ardoyne residents 'Orangemen repeller' hurl

The GARC hurl with the slogan 'Orangemen repeller'. Picture from Facebook 
John Monaghan

THE DUP has hit out at a nationalist residents' group after it posted an image of a hurl with the slogan 'Orangemen repeller'.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, which is strongly opposed to Orange Order parades in the area, showed off the hurley on its Facebook page.

The group is planning to stage a demonstration when Orangemen march past nationalist homes on the morning of July 12.

An evening parade has been banned in recent years, sparking violence at the interface and a loyalist protest which has cost millions to police.

GARC said in the post it had obtained the hurl from the Belfast-based ProGAA company.

ProGAA makes personalised hurls and other GAA accessories, with previous orders including an "English hooligan repeller" which was bought by an Irish fan for the European Championships.

DUP North Belfast assembly member Nelson McCausland last night accused GARC of showing hatred towards loyal orders.

He said: "For this group there simply is no possibility of dialogue or accommodation and there is a clear threat of violence which unfortunately has been capitulated to by the Parades Commission.

"I would hope there can be condemnation of this threat to members of the Orange institution from right across the political spectrum."

Mr McCausland added: "I would also hope the GAA would disassociate itself from such sentiments and ensure there is no relationship between them and the supplier who manufactured this item."

GARC did not respond to a request for comment.

However, a spokesman for ProGAA told The Irish News that no offence was intended and it was offering to "give free hugs to disaffected Orangemen".

"GARC asked us to make this hurl, it was a financial transaction," he said.

"We have a printing business as well and if they want to print leaflets criticising GARC they are welcome. We will serve anyone."

He added that the company is not an official supplier of hurls to GAA clubs.

"This is nothing to do with the GAA whatsoever and for Nelson to make a comparison is ludicrous. Our business doesn't mean any offence to anyone."

The row comes days after the collapse of secret talks to end the stand-off over parading in Ardoyne.

A deal between Orangemen and another residents group, the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), would have seen a parade past the area last week in return for the dismantling of the Twaddell protest camp.

However, opposition from one of the three Orange lodges scuppered the plan.

GARC was not part of the talks and said in another post it has told the Parades Commission residents were angered at plans to allow a march.

"We also informed them of our intention to mobilise hundreds to oppose this year's 12th morning parade."

Morning parades have been permitted to pass Ardoyne and have to date passed off without major incident.

The Parades Commission has banned the return march since 2012, sparking serious violence at the interface.

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