Pride and Prejudice Spotlight


Pride and Prejudice

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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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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Ardoyne.

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The most contentious of all Orange Order marches.

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Here, the 12th July usually means trouble.

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From one side or the other.

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Last year, the North Belfast parade descended into chaos.

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The violence lasted for three days and was broadcast around the world.

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NEWS REPORT: As protestors danced, water cannon were brought in.

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Officers were injured in the clashes.

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Within the last few minutes, Mr Dodds has been knocked

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unconscious by missiles thrown during the demonstration.

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Nigel Dodds was one of several people injured that day,

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all because three Orange Lodges were prevented from marching

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home along their traditional route.

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One of the bands involved in the parade was

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the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band.

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I was there on the 12th, making a documentary.

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As the parade became a riot, we were asked to stop filming

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and leave by a man we believe to be a paramilitary.

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We watched from the other side of the police lines as Loyalists

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rioted long into the night.

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This year, for the past number of weeks,

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Spotlight has been given unique access to people on both sides

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of this bitter dispute,

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from Republicans who want to see an end to the parades in this

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part of Belfast, to Loyalists who say they'll never give up trying

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to complete the march they started almost a year ago.

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For the Pride of Ardoyne band who I filmed with last year,

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these protests are becoming a fact of life.

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So how many people do this tonight?

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50 or 60, I think.

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How often are you doing this protest parade?

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-People are there seven days a week.

-Every day?

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Yes, every day, there's always somebody there.

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This is Gary Wells.

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He's the lead drummer in the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band.

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The last time I filmed with him,

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he explained how much being in the band meant to him.

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It's always been there, it's part of my life.

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Practise every week, parades most weekends.

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It's been part of me growing up. It's always been there.

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Good to see you again. I remember you from last year. How are you?

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These days, the protest parades every night

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and on Saturdays mean the band is an even bigger part of Gary's life.

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You must be devoting a lot of time to this protest, are you?

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Is this every night?

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We have done every Saturday from the 12th, it's over 300 days.

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It's something we have to do.

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The bands and their supporters have set up a protest camp

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on Twaddell Avenue.

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There, I meet band leader Michael Crosby.

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He too has been here almost every day since the protest began.

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We walk around the corner to Woodvale Road.

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Each night, the protest march begins again,

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close to where the original parade was stopped by police.

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-Would there be this amount of police every night?

-Monday to Saturday.

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Must cost a fortune.

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Between £35,000 and £45,000 a night.

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-A night?!

-Yeah.

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£35,000 a day.

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Even today, the police presence here is overwhelming.

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Since the 12th of July last year,

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policing these protests has cost in excess of £9 million.

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They don't want a parade, up or down the road.

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They don't want a return parade.

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So what do we do? I mean, do we...

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I don't know. We need to get home.

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Nobody wants chaos like last year.

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Tonight, the atmosphere is calm. Even jovial...

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Very different to the last time I was here.

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-Do you remember coming on the 12th?

-I'll never forget it.

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-It was unbelievable.

-There was about 2,000 people already there.

-Yes.

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I remember it all seemed to happen very quickly...

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Once you got up to the police lines within minutes, there was

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water cannon going.

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My wife brought me down shorts and a T-shirt,

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we thought we were staying there.

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But we didn't get a chance, they had us with water cannons.

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It got violent really, really quickly.

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The violence spread across Belfast.

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32 police officers were injured at Woodvale alone.

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Since the last 12th of July, 238 people have been charged with public

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disorder across greater Belfast.

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This eventually gave way to the nightly protest marches.

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Tonight, the bands are about to begin march number 309.

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The march itself takes about 15 minutes

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and the bands play music for another 15 minutes

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when they get near the semi-permanent camp at Twaddell Avenue.

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For the last few months, they have adhered to the determinations

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laid down by the Parades Commission.

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But that wasn't always the case.

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No notice of this public procession has been given to the PSNI.

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In the early days of the protest last summer,

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the behaviour of some bandsmen and protestors went too far,

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according to former Parades Commissioner Brian Kennaway.

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# Why don't you go home? #

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The behaviour was certainly not in keeping with the core

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values of the Orange institution.

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It is been undermined seriously by the behaviour at Twaddell,

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when we find people with Orange banners dancing

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and singing the words of the famine song.

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That is simply not on, in terms of trying to reach an accommodation

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with the community.

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The PSNI have confirmed that since the 12th of July last year,

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there have been 76 breaches of Parades Commission

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determinations at Woodvale Road and Twaddell Avenue.

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They say that 20 people have been arrested

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and that their inquiries are ongoing.

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At Camp Twaddell, Orangeman Gerald Solinas

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offers to show me around.

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This is Camp Twaddell. Is this legal?

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I know the parades are legal

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but is it legal to be on this patch of ground?

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I'm not sure. HE LAUGHS

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Do you not care?

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I do believe that there's no law against it

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within the UK.

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on a derelict piece of land. That's what I believe.

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I'm not sure if it's truthfully lawful or not.

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-So this is our catering Portakabin.

-This is quite a set-up.

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Who pays for all this?

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The donations come from all around the world, Australia, America.

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From England, Scotland and Wales.

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Various businessmen have all donated to the campaign.

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What happens if it doesn't go in your favour?

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If you don't get the return leg of the march?

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We'll stay here and keep protesting.

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-For as long as it takes?

-For as long as it takes, basically.

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Camp Twaddell is no more than 20 metres away

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from Nationalist and Republican parts of Ardoyne

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and is seen by many as an unwelcome aggravation.

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There have been several incidents of violence against the camp.

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In December, shots were fired from Ardoyne towards police

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and there have been two incidents where flags and banners have been attacked.

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For the most part,

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the presence of the camp has not led to serious ongoing unrest.

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Partly, that's down to people like Father Gary Donegan who

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lives in the Holy Cross monastery which overlooks the flash point.

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I've always said we are always two golf balls away from a riot.

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Every night, he patrols the streets with other inter-faith workers

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trying to keep young Nationalists away from the camp.

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If he sees a group of young people congregating,

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he tries to get them to move on.

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Started off the first night, 1,800 people,

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it went on till two or three in the morning.

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The first night of the Twaddell Camp?

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Yes, then it basically got smaller

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until it went to hundreds,

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then it went to dozens.

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As the nights wore on, it ended up

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basically a few young people.

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The last thing they want is to have is a priest standing in the middle

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of the gang because he interferes with the conversation.

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So you disperse them by ruining their street cred?

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That's it.

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Some people in Ardoyne see the camp at Twaddell not as a peaceful protest but as a provocation.

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Dee Fennell is the spokesman

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for the Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective also known as GARC.

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He's lived in Ardoyne all of his life.

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In 1971, his grandmother was shot and seriously injured

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following an Orange Order parade past Ardoyne.

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What is your opinion of Camp Twaddell

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and the effect it's had on this community?

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People in this area, we live cheek by jowl

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with people in the Shankhill that know who UVF personnel are.

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We see UVF men at it on a regular basis, daily.

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Basically it's a bigot fest, it's a hate camp.

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I think basically the people need to go away.

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On Saturdays,

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speeches are given to the assembled crowds at Woodvale Avenue.

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They often involve representatives from the Orange Order,

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sharing a platform with Loyalist leaders.

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# ..God save our gracious Queen... #

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Here, one of those leaders, Winston Irvine,

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shares a podium with Mervyn Gibson from the Orange Order.

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Last year, Spotlight investigated Winston Irvine's links with

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the UVF and named him as a senior UVF commander in Belfast.

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He strenuously denies that allegation.

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What do you make of the criticism from the Republican side and others

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that there's heavy involvement from people known to be involved in the UVF?

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I can assure you from the inside that it's a united Loyalist front

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and Unionist front. The political parties,

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the Ulster Unionist Party, the Democratic Unionists,

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the Progressive Unionist Party. There are people from local bands,

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and communities, three local lodges

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supported by Orange from around the country.

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So it's not a slow run by anybody.

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Do you see any kind of problem with someone like yourself or

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Orange leaders sharing platforms with people who are known to have paramilitary links?

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Do you accept that's a problem?

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I always find that a strange question because

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we've a government where the deputy leader of that government is a known IRA leader.

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So, why is there a always a question when somebody stands on a platform

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with whoever? Because everybody in this country's got a past.

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That doesn't mean they can't have a future.

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If it applies to the Deputy First Minister,

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it applies to anyone who stands with us in Twaddell.

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# ..God save our Queen... #

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So, do you think it is wrong for leading Orangemen

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or leading Unionist politicians to stand beside

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people who have clear paramilitary links?

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It's not just clear paramilitary links in the past. It's...

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The perception is that there are still paramilitary links today,

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and because of that, it is certainly, in my humble opinion, quite immoral.

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To Orangemen, the Parades Commission decision

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not to let the parade walk along the contentious route last year

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came as a real surprise.

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An unelected body,

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the Parades Commission.

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They wield arbitrary power.

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We will not accept it now. Never.

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The cry is, "No surrender!"

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CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

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It was the first time they had ever been

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prevented from returning by this route.

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The contentious stretch of road is really very short.

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It's roughly from the top of that hill behind me

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to a roundabout just down here,

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but Loyalists and Republicans see this little bit of road

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very differently.

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Loyalists see it as a shared space, a main arterial route

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that takes them home from their 12th of July celebrations.

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Republicans say that if it is a shared space,

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most of the houses along the front of this road are Nationalist

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and so the views of those residents have to be taken into account.

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Back in the caravan at Camp Twaddell, I meet Bobby Spence.

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He's been in the Pride of Ardoyne band for over 40 years.

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Why is it so important to walk up that stretch of road?

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I live there. I've lived in Ardoyne from 1969.

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They talk about Ardoyne residents say that they don't want the parade

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but I'm an Ardoyne resident.

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The thing that stops this parade is the threat of Republican violence.

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I asked Brian Kennoway whether last year's Parades Commission,

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which he served on,

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took previous Republican violence into account

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when making its decision.

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Some Loyalists that I have been speaking to

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say that the main reason, perhaps the only reason,

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why the parade wasn't allowed back up the road last year

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was the threat of Republican violence,

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and that the main criteria used by the Parades Commission

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was to stop that rioting within the Republican community.

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-Is that what happened?

-That was not the main reason, no.

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You take all things into consideration, obviously,

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but the main one was, there was no sustained conversation.

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This is Joe Marley. He's the spokesperson for CARA,

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the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents' Association.

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CARA has the support of Sinn Fein

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and is recognised by other political parties and, crucially,

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the Orange Order, as the group

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which best represents the residents of Ardoyne.

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Joe told me that one of the reasons many Ardoyne residents

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don't want the parades is because of the troubled and painful

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history of this area.

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There have been 50 people murdered in the local area by Loyalists.

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Of those 50, 12 were murdered in the immediate vicinity,

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some of them on the Crumlin Road,

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so we had bands that are affiliated to the Loyal Orders,

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that actually pay homage to some of the people

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that actually murdered some of those people.

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In fact, in one instance,

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a band celebrating a Loyalist

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walks past the spot in which that local man was killed.

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Joe's own father, Larry Marley,

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was one of those who was killed by Loyalists.

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A known IRA man in the area,

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he was shot at the family's front door in Ardoyne in 1987,

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when Joe was just 15.

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Tensions were so high between the two communities,

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and between the police and Republicans,

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that the funeral had to be cancelled twice for security reasons.

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I think there's a historic context to it.

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You go back as recently as 2001,

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when we had the Holy Cross blockade lasting 16 weeks.

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I think a lot of that informs people's decisions

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and attitudes towards the Orange Order.

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The Holy Cross School dispute may have been 13 years ago,

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but for some people here,

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it still casts a long shadow and has led to deep bitterness,

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and that appears to have an effect on attitudes towards parading.

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SHOUTING

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It's the same people that threw bombs and piss at school kids in this area

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that are walking up and down past our homes,

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and now they're saying it's a shared space

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and they should be allowed to spout their sectarianism

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on another stretch of road. I mean, they need to get real.

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But within Ardoyne, there's no love lost between the two groups

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which both claim to represent the views of the majority

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of Nationalist residents.

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Whilst to people on the outside, GARC and CARA would appear

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to represent a similar anti-parading viewpoint,

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there are some crucial differences in their positions.

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For one thing, CARA IS willing to compromise.

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CARA has told Spotlight that it's willing to facilitate

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the morning leg of the parade on 12th of July

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if the Order agrees to withdraw from the return leg.

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It's this evening parade which, in recent years,

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has seen serious violence and rioting in Ardoyne.

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All of this can only be agreed when we have the broad support

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and endorsement of the residents of Ardoyne,

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but we're confident that if the Orange Order are prepared to

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step up to the plate, show some positive leadership,

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we can resolve this issue. It's not insurmountable.

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Dee Fennell says GARC wants no such compromise.

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# ..We are not sectarian... #

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He believes the only answer is an end to all parades

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along this contested route, that Orangemen and their supporters

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should not be allowed to march

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either in the morning or the evening.

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THEY CHANT: No violence here! No violence here!

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In the past, members of GARC had been willing to break the law

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in an attempt to stop parades.

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In 2010, Dee Fennell was arrested

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after staging a sit-down protest in an attempt to disrupt a march.

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He refused to pay the court fine and was sent to prison for six days.

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Protests against parades in Ardoyne have often

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coincided with serious violence...

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..although Dee Fennell insists there's no link

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between the GARC protests and the rioting.

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Our position has always been clear.

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We don't want to see anyone engaged in any violence on the road

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or in these areas.

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I think when people in Ardoyne engage violence,

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it takes away from the core of the issue,

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which is the sectarian parade.

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But unfortunately, for generations,

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I mean, for well over a century, Loyal Order parades

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have been followed by violence by those who see them as supremacist

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and triumphalist,

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and unfortunately that could be an outcome.

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Critics of GARC say that in previous years,

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people are being actively brought in from other areas

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in order to riot here at Ardoyne. Have they?

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Well, if anyone has any evidence to suggest that GARC members

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are involved in orchestrating violence,

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and locally, it would be sometimes put across

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by people who would support Sinn Fein.

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I think they should do what their party leaders say they should do -

0:19:400:19:43

contact the PSNI, and I'll see them in Laganside Court.

0:19:430:19:47

There's another crucial difference between GARC and CARA.

0:19:470:19:51

CARA says it represents only those residents living along

0:19:510:19:54

or close to the parade route.

0:19:540:19:57

GARC believes it should be up to ALL residents of Ardoyne

0:19:570:20:00

to have their voices heard on parades.

0:20:000:20:03

Dee Fennell says that in 2010,

0:20:030:20:06

they surveyed every resident of Ardoyne.

0:20:060:20:08

They say they got over 1,200 responses

0:20:080:20:11

and that 70% of those who responded

0:20:110:20:14

said they wanted no parades whatsoever along the Crumlin Road.

0:20:140:20:19

Given that that was four years ago,

0:20:200:20:22

do you think people might be more willing to compromise now?

0:20:220:20:25

We stated at a public meeting in 2012,

0:20:250:20:27

we were challenged by a Sinn Fein MLA who said,

0:20:270:20:31

"That survey was two years ago and anybody could do a survey,"

0:20:310:20:35

and our answer to those people would be, "Go and do one then,"

0:20:350:20:37

and if they come back with a different answer, put it out there.

0:20:370:20:40

Do a survey and ask the same questions.

0:20:400:20:43

Spotlight carried out its own ad hoc survey of the houses facing

0:20:430:20:47

directly onto the 12th of July parade route.

0:20:470:20:50

We spoke to people in 38 of the 44 occupied houses

0:20:500:20:54

between Hesketh Drive and Woodvale Road.

0:20:540:20:57

Five residents didn't want to comment on the dispute.

0:20:570:21:00

12 said they wanted all parades banned.

0:21:000:21:03

Nine said they felt all parades should be allowed,

0:21:030:21:06

and 12 were open to a compromise.

0:21:060:21:09

So more than half of those we spoke to

0:21:090:21:12

were open to some level of parading at certain times along the road.

0:21:120:21:16

This wasn't a scientific survey

0:21:180:21:20

but it does suggest that among some people who live along this road,

0:21:200:21:24

there is an appetite for a resolution to this issue

0:21:240:21:27

and there are those within Republicanism and Nationalism,

0:21:270:21:30

who say they are willing to compromise to find that solution.

0:21:300:21:34

The problem is that what seems like a compromise for Republicans -

0:21:340:21:38

for example, allowing parades in the morning but not the evening -

0:21:380:21:41

still represents an unacceptable capitulation to Loyalists.

0:21:410:21:45

Who are they to say, "We agree to let you walk down

0:21:450:21:48

"a main public road"? That's the main road.

0:21:480:21:52

You've seen the route yourself. It's five minutes past shop fronts.

0:21:520:21:56

There's this myth that it goes through a Nationalist area.

0:21:560:21:59

It doesn't. It doesn't.

0:21:590:22:02

And it doesn't help that even within Republicanism there is a deep

0:22:040:22:08

division about how to deal with parading.

0:22:080:22:10

TALKING OVER LOUDSPEAKER

0:22:100:22:12

Last month, Dee Fennell stood for the first time

0:22:150:22:17

in the local elections as an Independent Republican.

0:22:170:22:21

That meant going up against the Sinn Fein political machine.

0:22:210:22:25

It is election day at City Hall.

0:22:270:22:29

-CHEERING

-An incredible reaction to Gerry Adams.

0:22:290:22:33

We caught up with Dee Fennell at the count for the Oldpark ward

0:22:390:22:42

which includes Ardoyne.

0:22:420:22:44

He was pleased with his first preferences, 846 votes.

0:22:440:22:49

For a while, it looked to him as if he might even have a chance at

0:22:490:22:53

gaining a council seat.

0:22:530:22:56

There is an outside chance, if we get enough numbered...

0:22:560:22:59

So you are still in with a shot?

0:22:590:23:01

Still in with a chance.

0:23:010:23:03

Someone else has also polled well,

0:23:050:23:07

Julie-Anne Corr, a candidate for the Progressive Unionist Party.

0:23:070:23:12

She was accompanied by fellow PUP members,

0:23:120:23:14

Billy Hutchinson and Winston Irvine.

0:23:140:23:17

Julie-Anne Corr rose to prominence

0:23:170:23:19

in Loyalist circles last year by being outspoken on issues like

0:23:190:23:22

flags and parading, and her message has struck a chord within Loyalism.

0:23:220:23:27

This community and the wider Loyalist family have been left behind.

0:23:270:23:31

Our areas have been neglected, our people have been pushed

0:23:310:23:34

to the margins of society.

0:23:340:23:36

It is only when you lift your anti-Orange policy will we as

0:23:360:23:40

society be able to truly build a better future.

0:23:400:23:44

Let them home.

0:23:440:23:45

The count here for the Oldpark ward is a very close run thing.

0:23:470:23:51

Here you have supporters of Independent Republican, Dee Fennell,

0:23:510:23:55

who's vigorously opposed to all parading.

0:23:550:23:57

In the background you have supporters of the PUP candidate,

0:23:570:24:01

Julie-Anne Corr. It looks like the PUP will take a seat.

0:24:010:24:05

It looks like Dee Fennell will just miss out

0:24:050:24:08

but it shows how polarised politics have become in this ward.

0:24:080:24:12

Compared to the success of Sinn Fein in the Oldpark ward,

0:24:150:24:18

whose candidates got over 4,000 votes,

0:24:180:24:20

Dee Fennell's vote was small but significant.

0:24:200:24:25

The council elections were not a referendum on the parading

0:24:250:24:28

issue in Ardoyne but there are those who believe they could

0:24:280:24:32

nonetheless have an impact on this summer's parading negotiations.

0:24:320:24:36

It will be Sinn Fein and CARA

0:24:360:24:38

who will be leading discussions with the Loyal Orders.

0:24:380:24:42

The difficulty for them is that GARC will not allow them

0:24:440:24:47

to reach a solution unless GARC is involved

0:24:470:24:50

because they will say whatever they got in electoral terms or

0:24:500:24:54

how many votes they got, they will say, "We're here, we live here,

0:24:540:24:57

"hundreds of people voted for us,

0:24:570:24:58

"you cannot reach agreement without us."

0:24:580:25:01

So you have a situation now in Ardoyne where Sinn Fein, or CARA,

0:25:010:25:04

are looking over their shoulder at GARC.

0:25:040:25:07

Yes, and GARC will not allow them to reach an accommodation that they're not involved in

0:25:070:25:12

because they are prepared to take to the streets, they are prepared

0:25:120:25:16

to block the parade, confront the police.

0:25:160:25:18

It is late May and talks are ongoing between CARA and the Orange Order,

0:25:200:25:24

facilitated by a Catholic and a Protestant bishop.

0:25:240:25:27

GARC have not been asked to take part.

0:25:270:25:31

They say they've sent a letter asking to meet the Orange Order

0:25:310:25:34

but they've had no reply.

0:25:340:25:37

If we talk to two groups and one group says yes and the other says no,

0:25:370:25:40

where do you stand then?

0:25:400:25:41

We are in a no-win situation,

0:25:410:25:43

we become just puppets in internal Republican politics.

0:25:430:25:47

I don't know. Maybe we're Fenians

0:25:470:25:49

and they don't want to talk to Fenians.

0:25:490:25:51

They want to talk to people that can be manipulated, controlled,

0:25:510:25:55

and they'll have a possibility of giving them everything they want.

0:25:550:25:59

One of the obstacles to finding a solution here seems to

0:26:000:26:03

be that there is competition and infighting within Republicanism.

0:26:030:26:08

One thing is clear, if a solution isn't found soon,

0:26:080:26:11

there could be serious repercussions.

0:26:110:26:13

If this camp is still here on the 12th of July it could be

0:26:130:26:16

a magnet for trouble,

0:26:160:26:18

and what happens then between these two communities is anyone's guess.

0:26:180:26:22

Last week rumours began circulating that there could be

0:26:240:26:27

a significant development in the parading dispute at Ardoyne.

0:26:270:26:30

Orangemen had attempted, for the fifth time, to finish their march past the Ardoyne

0:26:310:26:35

shops in a morning parade, this time early on Saturday the 7th of June.

0:26:350:26:40

It would come down to another determination by the new

0:26:400:26:43

Parades Commission.

0:26:430:26:45

It was an unenviable choice.

0:26:450:26:47

Allowing the parade past the shops

0:26:470:26:50

would mean the dismantling of Camp Twaddell.

0:26:500:26:52

But it was also likely to provoke a furious reaction from Ardoyne residents.

0:26:520:26:58

We caught up with GARC members as they left a meeting

0:26:580:27:01

with the Parades Commission.

0:27:010:27:03

We basically told them point-blank that if there were any

0:27:030:27:06

attempts to facilitate and allow these people to march back up

0:27:060:27:13

the Crumlin Road against the wishes of the vast majority of people from

0:27:130:27:17

Ardoyne that we would be left with no other option but to mobilise people

0:27:170:27:22

in their thousands, as we have proved we are more than capable of doing.

0:27:220:27:27

Is there some kind of implicit threat of violence in that?

0:27:270:27:30

That some of those people might become violent?

0:27:300:27:33

The situation is,

0:27:330:27:35

if we cannot stop it on our own, then we'll call for people to come

0:27:350:27:39

along who suffer at the hands of the same injustices.

0:27:390:27:43

We have done it in the past and we will do it again.

0:27:430:27:45

Do you feel the Parades Commission were listening to what you

0:27:450:27:48

were saying? Did they take it on board?

0:27:480:27:50

Believe you me, they listened.

0:27:500:27:52

Last Wednesday we went to Camp Twaddell just as the decision was being announced.

0:27:520:27:58

It didn't go the way the Loyalists wanted.

0:27:580:28:00

The parade on Saturday was not allowed to march back up

0:28:020:28:04

the Crumlin Road.

0:28:040:28:06

There is a lot of anger within the community.

0:28:070:28:10

Again this seems to be just appeasement of violent

0:28:100:28:13

Republican extremists at any cost to our culture and our community.

0:28:130:28:19

That night the Loyalists gathered once again.

0:28:190:28:23

Compared to the march two weeks ago,

0:28:230:28:25

this protest march was more sombre and more tense.

0:28:250:28:28

The last time I was here, at the other protest march, there was

0:28:330:28:37

a more jovial atmosphere but it feels different tonight.

0:28:370:28:40

It does indeed. It feels that...

0:28:400:28:43

my heart has been ripped out of my body.

0:28:430:28:48

My culture and heritage. It is terrible.

0:28:480:28:53

Over the following days, the protest marches continued

0:28:550:28:59

and remained peaceful.

0:28:590:29:00

But just as a new set of political talks are due to begin leading

0:29:020:29:06

up to the 12th of July, it is clear that in this part of Belfast,

0:29:060:29:10

on both sides, compromise is a commodity in short supply.

0:29:100:29:14

And without it, Ardoyne could be in for another long, hot summer.

0:29:150:29:19

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.


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