Northern Ireland news

Ardoyne dispute: Garc plans separate march in protest at parading deal

A previous Garc protest as Orange Order members marched past Ardoyne shops. Picture by Hugh Russell
Connla Young

A NATIONALIST residents' group is planning to hold a protest march and rally in opposition to a proposed Orange Order parade in north Belfast this weekend.

The contentious loyal order march is due to be held on Saturday morning as part of a deal to end the Ardoyne parading stand-off, which has seen loyalists man a 'protest camp' at Twaddell Avenue for more than three years.

Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective (Garc) said last night it plans to hold a protest march close to the loyalist camp on Friday evening. It also aims to hold a protest on Saturday morning to coincide with the Orange Order parade.

The move comes after a separate residents' group, Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents' Association (Cara), struck a deal with the Orange Order in a bid to end the parading impasse.

Tensions in the area have been high since the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from holding a return parade past nationalist homes on July 12 2013.

Garc was not involved in last week's deal, which will allow three Orange lodges to parade along the disputed route past Ardoyne shops and nationalist homes on Saturday at 8.30am.

In return the loyalist protest camp will be removed and a "mortatorium" placed on future return parades through the area.

The Parades Commission has not yet ruled on the proposed Orange Order parade, but a decision is expected today.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Garc committee on Tuesday night, a spokesman said it will apply to the Parades Commission for permission to hold Friday's march and the protest on Saturday morning.

"The protests have been organised first and foremost against the parade," he said. "We don't think the loyal orders and loyalist protesters should be rewarded for three years of bigotry."

Around 100 people attended a meeting organised by Garc last night when details of the planned protests were revealed.

The spokesman said: "We will be asking people to demonstrate peacefully and radically against sectarian parades going through this community. The protests have been organised to accommodate the increased sense of anger against this deal."

He encouraged residents and people from other areas to attend.

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