Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lives are at risk - Fr Troy

Daily Ireland:

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald admitted at the weekend that, for decades, Northern nationalists were effectively abandoned by Irish governments.

Mr FitzGerald conveniently absents himself from the long list of political leaders who turned their backs on Irish citizens in the Six Counties. After all, he is the Taoiseach who claimed to have ended the nationalist nightmare with the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985.

However, 20 years later, the scenes from Ardoyne on Friday night show that the nightmare is far from over for the beleaguered nationalists of north Belfast.

On that evening, Orangemen and their supporters, who had insisted on marching through Ardoyne, were indulged in their sectarian madness by the Parades Commission and the PSNI. Batons were drawn — but only to be used on Catholic residents.

The tinderbox that is Ardoyne now waits for another dose of the Democratic Unionist Party’s favoured medicine when the Orange march passes the Ardoyne shops not once but twice on July 12.

In true Paisleyite fashion, the Orangemen and their hangers-on who are obsessed with marching past Catholic homes will refuse to speak to those same residents — in the knowledge that they will still get their way.

Such an approach plays into the hands of the small minority on the nationalist side who mar the peaceful protests against these marches.

Fr Aidan Troy, whose peacemaking credentials are beyond dispute, has appealed to the Taoiseach and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to intervene to resolve this dispute before lives are lost.

His urgent pleas deserve a rapid response from Dublin.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern must move to ensure that there is no repeat of Friday’s chaotic scenes when the loyal orders again take to the streets of nationalist north Belfast on July 12. He should use the full weight of his governmental office and of his position as the leader of nationalist Ireland to insist that the days of forcing Orange parades through Catholic areas at the point of PSNI batons are at an end.

‘Senseless’ attacks on nationalist homes condemned


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