GARC Statement 6 th July 2014
Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective
GARC is a non party political residents group that is committed to peaceful, radical activity that will lead to the end of all unwanted sectarian Loyal Order marches through Ardoyne, Mountainview and The Dales.
GARC have demonstrated our ability since 2010 to ensure that residents have the opportunity to participate in mass mobilisations of those opposed to sectarian parades, including sit down protests, whiteline pickets and two counter parades attended by thousands of people. Our analysis that no sectarian parade is welcome in Greater Ardoyne was validated by a survey delivered to every home in the area, with over 90% of 1200 responding homes stating that all Loyal Order parades through our community are unacceptable. Our ability to again call thousands onto the streets to oppose either morning or evening parades should not be underestimated.
This past week has seen two contradictory determinations from the Parades Commission, one rewarding the Orange Order and UVF for putting this community under siege since July 2013, while another came to the logical conclusion that the evening parade was unjustified in seeking to trample over the rights of residents. It is the opinion of GARC, and by extension most Greater Ardoyne residents, that both parades should not pass through our area. We have demanded to meet the Parades Commission to put forward this argument this week, and this will happen in coming days.
The solution to the vicious circle of unwanted parades, loyalist intimidation, community disruption and PSNI violence against the people of Greater Ardoyne is to use the alternative route via Harmony Lane. This would provide the Loyal Orders with the totally legitimate right to express their culture and heritage where they are welcome, while causing no offence to residents and ensuring no need for massive funds being allocated to "security" and away from frontline services such as health and education. While our analysis would be that the route is already viable, any cost to the Stormont Executive of upgrading it to a standard acceptable to Loyal Orders would be minimal in comparison to the £10million it has cost to uphold the 2013 determination.
GARC remain willing to meet and talk with the Loyal Orders directly or indirectly, individually or collectively, to give our analysis and to listen to that of others. With this in mind, and following intensive community consultation since this year's determinations were made public, we have decided to withdraw plans for a mass mobilisation to oppose the 12th morning parade. This will help contribute to what we hope will be a conflict free 12th of July, that will lead to a conducive environment for talks in coming weeks around securing the use of the Harmony Lane route. However, we will have a number of residents present at the 12th morning parade to monitor for any breaches of the Parades Commission determination. Activity open to any resident, as GARC members proved in Court.
We would call upon other residents groups and political parties to support and promote the alternative route as the only viable and sensible solution to the issue of sectarian parades in Greater Ardoyne, rather than entertaining the "morning acceptable, evening unacceptable" argument. We would ask that they help to form a united campaign against the continued denial of Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales residents to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation.