Northern Ireland news

RTÉ documentary to look back at 2001 Holy Cross protest

A new programme about the Holy Cross dispute in 2001 is due to be broadcast on RTÉ One on Tuesday
Marie Louise McConville

THE Holy Cross dispute which saw Catholic schoolgirls face loyalist protests as they walked through an area of north Belfast is the subject of a new RTÉ documentary next week.

Scannal - Holy Cross will revisit the 12-week stand-off in Ardoyne which made headlines around the world almost 20 years ago.

Terrified children, some as young as four, had to run the gauntlet of loyalist protestors on their way to Holy Cross Girls' Primary School.

The children and their parents found themselves the target of verbal abuse as well as stones, bottles, fireworks and even a blast bomb.

Scores of police in riot gear and British soldiers were brought in to escort the children.

The new documentary includes commentary from former President Mary McAleese, who is from Ardoyne, and Irish News journalist Robert McMillen.

"We are looking at it through the lens with the advantage of having time on your side," said researcher Daráine Mulvihill.

"This was a story that was on the list for a really long time. It stirred such emotions in people. It's a tough one to tell because you have to be very sensitive in the way you would re-tell it.

"It's a very heavy subject matter. It's almost 20 years now and it just felt like maybe it was the right time to revisit the story."

Scannal - Holy Cross will be broadcast on RTÉ One at 7pm on Tuesday September 22.

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