Hard-hitting investigations. Declan Lawn reports from Ardoyne where the Orange parade has led to violence in both republican and loyalist communities.
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This programme contains some strong language.
The most contentious of all Orange Order marches.
Here, the 12th July usually means trouble.
From one side or the other.
Last year, the North Belfast parade descended into chaos.
The violence lasted for three days and was broadcast around the world.
NEWS REPORT: As protestors danced, water cannon were brought in.
Officers were injured in the clashes.
Within the last few minutes, Mr Dodds has been knocked
unconscious by missiles thrown during the demonstration.
Nigel Dodds was one of several people injured that day,
all because three Orange Lodges were prevented from marching
home along their traditional route.
One of the bands involved in the parade was
the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band.
I was there on the 12th, making a documentary.
As the parade became a riot, we were asked to stop filming
and leave by a man we believe to be a paramilitary.
We watched from the other side of the police lines as Loyalists
rioted long into the night.
This year, for the past number of weeks,
Spotlight has been given unique access to people on both sides
of this bitter dispute,
from Republicans who want to see an end to the parades in this
part of Belfast, to Loyalists who say they'll never give up trying
to complete the march they started almost a year ago.
For the Pride of Ardoyne band who I filmed with last year,
these protests are becoming a fact of life.
So how many people do this tonight?
50 or 60, I think.
How often are you doing this protest parade?
-People are there seven days a week.
Yes, every day, there's always somebody there.
This is Gary Wells.
He's the lead drummer in the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band.
The last time I filmed with him,
he explained how much being in the band meant to him.
It's always been there, it's part of my life.
Practise every week, parades most weekends.
It's been part of me growing up. It's always been there.
Good to see you again. I remember you from last year. How are you?
These days, the protest parades every night
and on Saturdays mean the band is an even bigger part of Gary's life.
You must be devoting a lot of time to this protest, are you?
Is this every night?
We have done every Saturday from the 12th, it's over 300 days.
It's something we have to do.
The bands and their supporters have set up a protest camp
on Twaddell Avenue.
There, I meet band leader Michael Crosby.
He too has been here almost every day since the protest began.
We walk around the corner to Woodvale Road.
Each night, the protest march begins again,
close to where the original parade was stopped by police.
-Would there be this amount of police every night?
-Monday to Saturday.
Must cost a fortune.
Between £35,000 and £45,000 a night.
£35,000 a day.
Even today, the police presence here is overwhelming.
Since the 12th of July last year,
policing these protests has cost in excess of £9 million.
They don't want a parade, up or down the road.
They don't want a return parade.
So what do we do? I mean, do we...
I don't know. We need to get home.
Nobody wants chaos like last year.
Tonight, the atmosphere is calm. Even jovial...
Very different to the last time I was here.
-Do you remember coming on the 12th?
-I'll never forget it.
-It was unbelievable.
-There was about 2,000 people already there.
I remember it all seemed to happen very quickly...
Once you got up to the police lines within minutes, there was
water cannon going.
My wife brought me down shorts and a T-shirt,
we thought we were staying there.
But we didn't get a chance, they had us with water cannons.
It got violent really, really quickly.
The violence spread across Belfast.
32 police officers were injured at Woodvale alone.
Since the last 12th of July, 238 people have been charged with public
disorder across greater Belfast.
This eventually gave way to the nightly protest marches.
Tonight, the bands are about to begin march number 309.
The march itself takes about 15 minutes
and the bands play music for another 15 minutes
when they get near the semi-permanent camp at Twaddell Avenue.
For the last few months, they have adhered to the determinations
laid down by the Parades Commission.
But that wasn't always the case.
No notice of this public procession has been given to the PSNI.
In the early days of the protest last summer,
the behaviour of some bandsmen and protestors went too far,
according to former Parades Commissioner Brian Kennaway.
# Why don't you go home? #
The behaviour was certainly not in keeping with the core
values of the Orange institution.
It is been undermined seriously by the behaviour at Twaddell,
when we find people with Orange banners dancing
and singing the words of the famine song.
That is simply not on, in terms of trying to reach an accommodation
with the community.
The PSNI have confirmed that since the 12th of July last year,
there have been 76 breaches of Parades Commission
determinations at Woodvale Road and Twaddell Avenue.
They say that 20 people have been arrested
and that their inquiries are ongoing.
At Camp Twaddell, Orangeman Gerald Solinas
offers to show me around.
This is Camp Twaddell. Is this legal?
I know the parades are legal
but is it legal to be on this patch of ground?
I'm not sure. HE LAUGHS
Do you not care?
I do believe that there's no law against it
within the UK.
on a derelict piece of land. That's what I believe.
I'm not sure if it's truthfully lawful or not.
-So this is our catering Portakabin.
-This is quite a set-up.
Who pays for all this?
The donations come from all around the world, Australia, America.
From England, Scotland and Wales.
Various businessmen have all donated to the campaign.
What happens if it doesn't go in your favour?
If you don't get the return leg of the march?
We'll stay here and keep protesting.
-For as long as it takes?
-For as long as it takes, basically.
Camp Twaddell is no more than 20 metres away
from Nationalist and Republican parts of Ardoyne
and is seen by many as an unwelcome aggravation.
There have been several incidents of violence against the camp.
In December, shots were fired from Ardoyne towards police
and there have been two incidents where flags and banners have been attacked.
For the most part,
the presence of the camp has not led to serious ongoing unrest.
Partly, that's down to people like Father Gary Donegan who
lives in the Holy Cross monastery which overlooks the flash point.
I've always said we are always two golf balls away from a riot.
Every night, he patrols the streets with other inter-faith workers
trying to keep young Nationalists away from the camp.
If he sees a group of young people congregating,
he tries to get them to move on.
Started off the first night, 1,800 people,
it went on till two or three in the morning.
The first night of the Twaddell Camp?
Yes, then it basically got smaller
until it went to hundreds,
then it went to dozens.
As the nights wore on, it ended up
basically a few young people.
The last thing they want is to have is a priest standing in the middle
of the gang because he interferes with the conversation.
So you disperse them by ruining their street cred?
Some people in Ardoyne see the camp at Twaddell not as a peaceful protest but as a provocation.
Dee Fennell is the spokesman
for the Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective also known as GARC.
He's lived in Ardoyne all of his life.
In 1971, his grandmother was shot and seriously injured
following an Orange Order parade past Ardoyne.
What is your opinion of Camp Twaddell
and the effect it's had on this community?
People in this area, we live cheek by jowl
with people in the Shankhill that know who UVF personnel are.
We see UVF men at it on a regular basis, daily.
Basically it's a bigot fest, it's a hate camp.
I think basically the people need to go away.
speeches are given to the assembled crowds at Woodvale Avenue.
They often involve representatives from the Orange Order,
sharing a platform with Loyalist leaders.
# ..God save our gracious Queen... #
Here, one of those leaders, Winston Irvine,
shares a podium with Mervyn Gibson from the Orange Order.
Last year, Spotlight investigated Winston Irvine's links with
the UVF and named him as a senior UVF commander in Belfast.
He strenuously denies that allegation.
What do you make of the criticism from the Republican side and others
that there's heavy involvement from people known to be involved in the UVF?
I can assure you from the inside that it's a united Loyalist front
and Unionist front. The political parties,
the Ulster Unionist Party, the Democratic Unionists,
the Progressive Unionist Party. There are people from local bands,
and communities, three local lodges
supported by Orange from around the country.
So it's not a slow run by anybody.
Do you see any kind of problem with someone like yourself or
Orange leaders sharing platforms with people who are known to have paramilitary links?
Do you accept that's a problem?
I always find that a strange question because
we've a government where the deputy leader of that government is a known IRA leader.
So, why is there a always a question when somebody stands on a platform
with whoever? Because everybody in this country's got a past.
That doesn't mean they can't have a future.
If it applies to the Deputy First Minister,
it applies to anyone who stands with us in Twaddell.
# ..God save our Queen... #
So, do you think it is wrong for leading Orangemen
or leading Unionist politicians to stand beside
people who have clear paramilitary links?
It's not just clear paramilitary links in the past. It's...
The perception is that there are still paramilitary links today,
and because of that, it is certainly, in my humble opinion, quite immoral.
To Orangemen, the Parades Commission decision
not to let the parade walk along the contentious route last year
came as a real surprise.
An unelected body,
the Parades Commission.
They wield arbitrary power.
We will not accept it now. Never.
The cry is, "No surrender!"
CHEERS AND APPLAUSE
It was the first time they had ever been
prevented from returning by this route.
The contentious stretch of road is really very short.
It's roughly from the top of that hill behind me
to a roundabout just down here,
but Loyalists and Republicans see this little bit of road
Loyalists see it as a shared space, a main arterial route
that takes them home from their 12th of July celebrations.
Republicans say that if it is a shared space,
most of the houses along the front of this road are Nationalist
and so the views of those residents have to be taken into account.
Back in the caravan at Camp Twaddell, I meet Bobby Spence.
He's been in the Pride of Ardoyne band for over 40 years.
Why is it so important to walk up that stretch of road?
I live there. I've lived in Ardoyne from 1969.
They talk about Ardoyne residents say that they don't want the parade
but I'm an Ardoyne resident.
The thing that stops this parade is the threat of Republican violence.
I asked Brian Kennoway whether last year's Parades Commission,
which he served on,
took previous Republican violence into account
when making its decision.
Some Loyalists that I have been speaking to
say that the main reason, perhaps the only reason,
why the parade wasn't allowed back up the road last year
was the threat of Republican violence,
and that the main criteria used by the Parades Commission
was to stop that rioting within the Republican community.
-Is that what happened?
-That was not the main reason, no.
You take all things into consideration, obviously,
but the main one was, there was no sustained conversation.
This is Joe Marley. He's the spokesperson for CARA,
the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents' Association.
CARA has the support of Sinn Fein
and is recognised by other political parties and, crucially,
the Orange Order, as the group
which best represents the residents of Ardoyne.
Joe told me that one of the reasons many Ardoyne residents
don't want the parades is because of the troubled and painful
history of this area.
There have been 50 people murdered in the local area by Loyalists.
Of those 50, 12 were murdered in the immediate vicinity,
some of them on the Crumlin Road,
so we had bands that are affiliated to the Loyal Orders,
that actually pay homage to some of the people
that actually murdered some of those people.
In fact, in one instance,
a band celebrating a Loyalist
walks past the spot in which that local man was killed.
Joe's own father, Larry Marley,
was one of those who was killed by Loyalists.
A known IRA man in the area,
he was shot at the family's front door in Ardoyne in 1987,
when Joe was just 15.
Tensions were so high between the two communities,
and between the police and Republicans,
that the funeral had to be cancelled twice for security reasons.
I think there's a historic context to it.
You go back as recently as 2001,
when we had the Holy Cross blockade lasting 16 weeks.
I think a lot of that informs people's decisions
and attitudes towards the Orange Order.
The Holy Cross School dispute may have been 13 years ago,
but for some people here,
it still casts a long shadow and has led to deep bitterness,
and that appears to have an effect on attitudes towards parading.
It's the same people that threw bombs and piss at school kids in this area
that are walking up and down past our homes,
and now they're saying it's a shared space
and they should be allowed to spout their sectarianism
on another stretch of road. I mean, they need to get real.
But within Ardoyne, there's no love lost between the two groups
which both claim to represent the views of the majority
of Nationalist residents.
Whilst to people on the outside, GARC and CARA would appear
to represent a similar anti-parading viewpoint,
there are some crucial differences in their positions.
For one thing, CARA IS willing to compromise.
CARA has told Spotlight that it's willing to facilitate
the morning leg of the parade on 12th of July
if the Order agrees to withdraw from the return leg.
It's this evening parade which, in recent years,
has seen serious violence and rioting in Ardoyne.
All of this can only be agreed when we have the broad support
and endorsement of the residents of Ardoyne,
but we're confident that if the Orange Order are prepared to
step up to the plate, show some positive leadership,
we can resolve this issue. It's not insurmountable.
Dee Fennell says GARC wants no such compromise.
# ..We are not sectarian... #
He believes the only answer is an end to all parades
along this contested route, that Orangemen and their supporters
should not be allowed to march
either in the morning or the evening.
THEY CHANT: No violence here! No violence here!
In the past, members of GARC had been willing to break the law
in an attempt to stop parades.
In 2010, Dee Fennell was arrested
after staging a sit-down protest in an attempt to disrupt a march.
He refused to pay the court fine and was sent to prison for six days.
Protests against parades in Ardoyne have often
coincided with serious violence...
..although Dee Fennell insists there's no link
between the GARC protests and the rioting.
Our position has always been clear.
We don't want to see anyone engaged in any violence on the road
or in these areas.
I think when people in Ardoyne engage violence,
it takes away from the core of the issue,
which is the sectarian parade.
But unfortunately, for generations,
I mean, for well over a century, Loyal Order parades
have been followed by violence by those who see them as supremacist
and unfortunately that could be an outcome.
Critics of GARC say that in previous years,
people are being actively brought in from other areas
in order to riot here at Ardoyne. Have they?
Well, if anyone has any evidence to suggest that GARC members
are involved in orchestrating violence,
and locally, it would be sometimes put across
by people who would support Sinn Fein.
I think they should do what their party leaders say they should do -
contact the PSNI, and I'll see them in Laganside Court.
There's another crucial difference between GARC and CARA.
CARA says it represents only those residents living along
or close to the parade route.
GARC believes it should be up to ALL residents of Ardoyne
to have their voices heard on parades.
Dee Fennell says that in 2010,
they surveyed every resident of Ardoyne.
They say they got over 1,200 responses
and that 70% of those who responded
said they wanted no parades whatsoever along the Crumlin Road.
Given that that was four years ago,
do you think people might be more willing to compromise now?
We stated at a public meeting in 2012,
we were challenged by a Sinn Fein MLA who said,
"That survey was two years ago and anybody could do a survey,"
and our answer to those people would be, "Go and do one then,"
and if they come back with a different answer, put it out there.
Do a survey and ask the same questions.
Spotlight carried out its own ad hoc survey of the houses facing
directly onto the 12th of July parade route.
We spoke to people in 38 of the 44 occupied houses
between Hesketh Drive and Woodvale Road.
Five residents didn't want to comment on the dispute.
12 said they wanted all parades banned.
Nine said they felt all parades should be allowed,
and 12 were open to a compromise.
So more than half of those we spoke to
were open to some level of parading at certain times along the road.
This wasn't a scientific survey
but it does suggest that among some people who live along this road,
there is an appetite for a resolution to this issue
and there are those within Republicanism and Nationalism,
who say they are willing to compromise to find that solution.
The problem is that what seems like a compromise for Republicans -
for example, allowing parades in the morning but not the evening -
still represents an unacceptable capitulation to Loyalists.
Who are they to say, "We agree to let you walk down
"a main public road"? That's the main road.
You've seen the route yourself. It's five minutes past shop fronts.
There's this myth that it goes through a Nationalist area.
It doesn't. It doesn't.
And it doesn't help that even within Republicanism there is a deep
division about how to deal with parading.
TALKING OVER LOUDSPEAKER
Last month, Dee Fennell stood for the first time
in the local elections as an Independent Republican.
That meant going up against the Sinn Fein political machine.
It is election day at City Hall.
-An incredible reaction to Gerry Adams.
We caught up with Dee Fennell at the count for the Oldpark ward
which includes Ardoyne.
He was pleased with his first preferences, 846 votes.
For a while, it looked to him as if he might even have a chance at
gaining a council seat.
There is an outside chance, if we get enough numbered...
So you are still in with a shot?
Still in with a chance.
Someone else has also polled well,
Julie-Anne Corr, a candidate for the Progressive Unionist Party.
She was accompanied by fellow PUP members,
Billy Hutchinson and Winston Irvine.
Julie-Anne Corr rose to prominence
in Loyalist circles last year by being outspoken on issues like
flags and parading, and her message has struck a chord within Loyalism.
This community and the wider Loyalist family have been left behind.
Our areas have been neglected, our people have been pushed
to the margins of society.
It is only when you lift your anti-Orange policy will we as
society be able to truly build a better future.
Let them home.
The count here for the Oldpark ward is a very close run thing.
Here you have supporters of Independent Republican, Dee Fennell,
who's vigorously opposed to all parading.
In the background you have supporters of the PUP candidate,
Julie-Anne Corr. It looks like the PUP will take a seat.
It looks like Dee Fennell will just miss out
but it shows how polarised politics have become in this ward.
Compared to the success of Sinn Fein in the Oldpark ward,
whose candidates got over 4,000 votes,
Dee Fennell's vote was small but significant.
The council elections were not a referendum on the parading
issue in Ardoyne but there are those who believe they could
nonetheless have an impact on this summer's parading negotiations.
It will be Sinn Fein and CARA
who will be leading discussions with the Loyal Orders.
The difficulty for them is that GARC will not allow them
to reach a solution unless GARC is involved
because they will say whatever they got in electoral terms or
how many votes they got, they will say, "We're here, we live here,
"hundreds of people voted for us,
"you cannot reach agreement without us."
So you have a situation now in Ardoyne where Sinn Fein, or CARA,
are looking over their shoulder at GARC.
Yes, and GARC will not allow them to reach an accommodation that they're not involved in
because they are prepared to take to the streets, they are prepared
to block the parade, confront the police.
It is late May and talks are ongoing between CARA and the Orange Order,
facilitated by a Catholic and a Protestant bishop.
GARC have not been asked to take part.
They say they've sent a letter asking to meet the Orange Order
but they've had no reply.
If we talk to two groups and one group says yes and the other says no,
where do you stand then?
We are in a no-win situation,
we become just puppets in internal Republican politics.
I don't know. Maybe we're Fenians
and they don't want to talk to Fenians.
They want to talk to people that can be manipulated, controlled,
and they'll have a possibility of giving them everything they want.
One of the obstacles to finding a solution here seems to
be that there is competition and infighting within Republicanism.
One thing is clear, if a solution isn't found soon,
there could be serious repercussions.
If this camp is still here on the 12th of July it could be
a magnet for trouble,
and what happens then between these two communities is anyone's guess.
Last week rumours began circulating that there could be
a significant development in the parading dispute at Ardoyne.
Orangemen had attempted, for the fifth time, to finish their march past the Ardoyne
shops in a morning parade, this time early on Saturday the 7th of June.
It would come down to another determination by the new
It was an unenviable choice.
Allowing the parade past the shops
would mean the dismantling of Camp Twaddell.
But it was also likely to provoke a furious reaction from Ardoyne residents.
We caught up with GARC members as they left a meeting
with the Parades Commission.
We basically told them point-blank that if there were any
attempts to facilitate and allow these people to march back up
the Crumlin Road against the wishes of the vast majority of people from
Ardoyne that we would be left with no other option but to mobilise people
in their thousands, as we have proved we are more than capable of doing.
Is there some kind of implicit threat of violence in that?
That some of those people might become violent?
The situation is,
if we cannot stop it on our own, then we'll call for people to come
along who suffer at the hands of the same injustices.
We have done it in the past and we will do it again.
Do you feel the Parades Commission were listening to what you
were saying? Did they take it on board?
Believe you me, they listened.
Last Wednesday we went to Camp Twaddell just as the decision was being announced.
It didn't go the way the Loyalists wanted.
The parade on Saturday was not allowed to march back up
the Crumlin Road.
There is a lot of anger within the community.
Again this seems to be just appeasement of violent
Republican extremists at any cost to our culture and our community.
That night the Loyalists gathered once again.
Compared to the march two weeks ago,
this protest march was more sombre and more tense.
The last time I was here, at the other protest march, there was
a more jovial atmosphere but it feels different tonight.
It does indeed. It feels that...
my heart has been ripped out of my body.
My culture and heritage. It is terrible.
Over the following days, the protest marches continued
and remained peaceful.
But just as a new set of political talks are due to begin leading
up to the 12th of July, it is clear that in this part of Belfast,
on both sides, compromise is a commodity in short supply.
And without it, Ardoyne could be in for another long, hot summer.
As another marching season approaches, Declan Lawn reports from Ardoyne in North Belfast, where one of NI's most contentious Orange parades has led to violence in both republican and loyalist communities.