Thursday, 28 July 2011

New GARC White-Line Picket This Saturday, 30/7/11 @ 12 Noon

A new GARC White-Line Picket will take place this Saturday, 30th July @ 12 O'Clock (Noon) on the Crumlin/Ardoyne Road.

The Picket is in opposition to the ABOD insisting to march through the Greater Ardoyne Community on August 13th.

Plz show UR support and solidarity...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

GARC Analysis of July 12th, 2011

The following letter was published tonight (21/7/11) in the North Belfast News (NBN);

A chara,
Throughout May and June, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) held a number of positive meetings to furnish other Community Leaders and Elected Representatives with our analysis of unwelcome Loyal Order parades through our area. The discussions included Fr. Gary Donegan, (Parish Priest), Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP) and senior Youth Leaders from Ardoyne Youth Providers Forum, Ardoyne Youth Club, Ardoyne & Marrowbone Youth Forum and Club Oige

We wrote to Sinn Fein the same day as the SDLP by email, however they didn’t respond until late on Thursday 7th July. We wrote back acknowledging his email and that we would be more than willing to meet with him. We also requested that any meeting, take place in a public building ie: Ardoyne Community Centre with independant Community Representatives. So that any matters arising, could be clarified as a true and accurate account of proceedings and asking Mr. Kelly was he willing to withdraw negative and untrue comments he made to the Media about our Collective the year before? To date, he still hasn’t responded but informed the North Belfast News (14/7/11) that he would not retract his misleading statements about GARC.
GARC also held a lengthy meeting with the Parades Commission in Holy Cross Monastery on June 9. We invited the above Youth Leaders to give the Commission their opinion on how sectarian parades negatively affect the youth of Ardoyne and the Oldpark areas obviously to no avail. 
Future talks between GARC and CARA were scuppered due to a misleading media report and it is a matter of regret that we were not able to formulate a unified plan to oppose unwelcome parades. We reiterate that no one resident’s group has a monopoly on the parades issue in our community. Therefore, GARC nor CARA can propose, negotiate or compromise with the North & West Belfast Parades Forum without FIRST conducting extensive consultation and approval from the Greater Ardoyne community. Unfortunately, this has not been done to date!
On July 8, GARC held another important meeting in Ardoyne Community Centre with a number of Political Parties and Groups that included, Belfast representatives of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), Eirigi, Republican Network for Unity (RNU), 32 County Sovereignty Movement and the James Connolly Republican Society. The objective of this meeting, as with the others was to ask the above organisations to take our lead during the protest and use their influence with their respective memberships in preventing any potential situation in our area on the Twelfth.

After the Parades Commission wrongly ruled in favour of not ONE but TWO Orange Order parades to take place through Ardoyne. GARC decided to apply for a residents march.  We did so, as is our right to express our community’s right to ‘live free from fear and sectarian harassment’.  On July 8, we were informed by the Commission that our march would NOT BE permitted on the Crumlin Road on July 12, 2011. We also delivered over 6,000 leaflets throughout Greater Ardoyne under the watchful eye of the partial PSNI on foot patrol, jeeps and unmarked cars for two hours. Isn't it a pity they don't pay the same attention to the well-known criminals who freely roam Ardoyne daily. The leaflet informed residents about the rationale behind our right to march and asked everyone especially the young to refrain from violent actions. We also invited everyone to participate in the march.  
Much has been written about the rioting. However, what has been missing has been who actually created the riots in the first place especially in S/F's nonsensical leaflet of lies being distributed. Early on the Twelfth afternoon, GARC met with local Youth Workers and we gave them details of our march and asked for their help in removing potential trouble makers. According to many local residents who were waiting at the top of Estorial Pk for the march. Fr. Gary Donegan and Alban McGuinness MLA, made Media quotes that dozens of riot-clad PSNI members moved into Estorial much too early. They were immediately accompanined by a number of Land Rovers and Water Cannon were deployed. These actions only inflamed youths, some of who are known criminal elements and frightened residents. In response, a couple of youths threw stones at PSNI lines and were immediately beaten back by Plastic Bullets and water cannon.
Within moments, GARC march organisers were notified that a situation was unfolding in Estorial. We were forced to change direction of our march away from the planned route instead, we opted to travel down Strathroy Pk along Etna Drive and up Brompton Pk to it's junction with Balhom Dr. FACT. 
At the top of Brompton, the march was met by another huge line of a well-armed and prepared riot squad, Land Rovers and another Water Cannon. It was then the GARC Spokesperson, Dee Fennell addressed marchers, thanking them for showing their continued support and deploring the Parades Commission for again permitting an unnecessary and most certainly unwelcome Orange march. At one point, Dee demanded a couple of stone-throwers STOP. They were quickly moved on by GARC Marshals and no other incidents occurred whilst the rally continued. After the speech, the vast majority of marchers dispersed peacefully. FACT. GARC came and did what they said what they would do, nothing more - nothing less!

The day before, Sinn Fein members visited residents in Estorial Pk and Balhom Dr and maliciously informed them that GARC's march would cause a riot and they should remove all their garden ornaments and patio furniture etc. They were also told that S/F would be present in numbers to prevent trouble makers. This begs the question WHY were S/F cowering in the Chapel grounds within the sterile area clearly agreed between them and the PSNI. In order for them to hold their facilitation protest under the guise of CARA.

According to some Politicians who have attempted to misrepresent GARC’s integrity by erroneously linking us to ‘dissident’ Republican groups. We state categorically, that we are a single-issue resident’s Collective. We share a strong common goal to end unwelcome Loyal Order parades which ends every year in havoc and trouble. GARC advocate an viable alternative route for these marches, where they are indeed welcomed. Regardless of smears and untruths, we will continue to represent those residents from the greater Ardoyne area who have been repeatedly denied the right to live in peace, free from fear and sectarian harassment!
Is Mise,
Martin Óg Meehan

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Footage and Photos of GARC's Rally 4 Civil Rights (12/7/11)

G.A.R.C. Civil Rights Rally 12/7/11

Eirigi Video of Ardoyne Residents Protest, 12/7/11 

GARC Rally 4 Civil Rights

RUC/PSNI Preventing Ardoyne Rally 12/7/11

So-Called member of the 'Civil Police Service' in Ardoyne 12/7/11

Republican Youth Resist RUC/PSNI Oppression 12/7/11

Republican Youth Resist RUC/PSNI Oppression 12/7/11
So-Called 'Civil Police Service' in Ardoyne 12/7/11

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Few Questions for Sinn Fein?

According to today's Newspapers, the British Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness visited Ardoyne on July 11th. Where he met with residents, community workers and youth leaders?

GARC have asked various Youth Workers, Community Workers and residents were they present? Many replied that they were totally unaware of his visit until they read it in the Media today - 14/7/11.

So, who exactly did meet Mr. McGuinness? This needs to be clarified as he stated that he was given the local community's views and opinions? GARC challenge him to name the residents, organisations/groups and Youth Leaders he met?

On another related issue, Gerry Kelly MLA asserts that he nor S/F had NO prior knowledge or influence of the RUC/PSNI operation to hem in and seal off Ardoyne from the Crumlin Road and Mountainview areas.....

A number of Mountainview residents have informed GARC that they witnessed Mr. Kelly being informed by fellow S/F members that the GARC march had just commenced on the Berwick Road @ 7pm. He was also informed about the sequence of GARC's substantial march by two so-called 'Independant Observers' who shadowed GARC's parade for Civil Rights. These two Observers; were prominent S/F members. Gerry then immediately walked across the top of Estorial Park and spoke at length to a senior PSNI woman. The same woman was then heard to issue an order over the radio to her riot-clad members to immediately seal off Estorial and Brompton Parks quickly followed by two water cannons and a number of RUC Land Rovers! As well as, the Ardoyne Road shop roofs....

Within three minutes of arriving in Estorial Pk, the rebranded RUC attacked local people who had been waiting for the arrival of the GARC march. They beat them into Balhome Drive and proceeded to fire around a dozen Plastic Bullets and also deployed the Water Cannon on unsuspecting residents. These facts have been confirmed by the Parish Priest, Fr. Gary, Alban McGuinnes MLA and by the countless Journalists at the scene.

Gerry who is being dishonest about these issues?

GARC also ask both MLAs', is it not the democratic right of a person, persons, groups and political parties to politically agree or disagree with S/F or whoever else they so wish?

Finally, on a seperate note....How can GARC respect fully the rights of others when our National Flag is burned ON a majority of Council-Funded Loyalist Bonfires year in and year out? Maybe this would explain why there is a violent reaction on top of unwelcome Parades?

GARC agree a large group of Criminals engaged the RUC/PSNI in Conflict in Ardoyne on the Twelfth, however NOT ALL are of the same ilk. As there were genuine young people present also. GARC are on public record asking those who were intent on causing trouble to stay away from GARC's march, that they were NOT welcome!


Predictably the annual Orange Order festival in North Belfast's Ardoyne ended with more violence from young people who opposed an unwelcome parade through their community. 

In spite of countless meetings, consultations, media statements and leaflet drops around the issue of contentious marches by the Anti-Catholic, Nationalist and Republican Orange Institution. The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) filed for a residents march to take place on July 12th, 2011. A few days later, the Parades Commission issued it's negative ruling on GARC's application to hold a peaceful, calm and dignified march. As expected, the Commission under advice of the rebranded RUC refused local residents access to the Crumlin Road. Even though, the same Commissioners permitted the Orange Order, a number of Loyalist Bands and supporters to parade on the same stretch of the road twice in one day.

Around 8am that morning, GARC Activists attended a CARA organised protest planned to take place at the same time as the above marchers walked the Crumlin Road. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of CARA's protest were NOT Greater Ardoyne residents at all, but members of Provisional Sinn Fein members. Some of who were very senior members of that Political Party! After opposing the unwelcome march, GARC and their supporters made their way along the footpath toward Brompton Park. However, were prevented by so doing by a large detachment of paramiltary 'Police' who physically blocked their path.

Fast forward to 6.30pm in the evening, where some 500 local residents assembled on the Berwick Road to partake in a GARC march through the area to assert the rights of local people! The residents were joined by a small number of Political Activists from various Republican Groups who came along to express their solidarity. Just prior to leaving on their planned route, scores of riot-cladd RUC/PSNI men, ten armoured Land Rovers and a Water Cannon stormed into the top of Estorial Park. Where they immeidately attacked number of local people waiting on the GARC demonstration. This provaction was witnessed by Fr. Gary Donegan and Alban McGuinness of the SDLP, who both later condemned the behavoiur of the Political Police. The youth responded with a few stones and bottles and the top of Estorial was completely sealed off with access refused to everyone!

As Estorial Park was GARC's intended route, the Collective had no option but march down Strathroy Park, along Etna Drive and up Brompton Park. When we reached the top of Brompton, we were faced by dozens of heavily-armed Cops, Land Rovers and another Water Cannon. Minutes later, Dee Fennell addressed those assembled, thanking them for remaining calm despite the aggressive manner of the RUC/PSNI. He outlined the reason GARC had applied for such a march and why we had been refused access to the Crumlin Road - 'We are still second-class citizens in our own Country'! After reading the statement, Dee appealed on behalf of GARC that local youths NOT to riot because that would only detract away from the core issue of unwelcome parades!

Those youth did not listen and within minutes of GARC and their supporters dispersing began attacking the RUC/PSNI with whatever they could throw at them! In the ensuing trouble, GARC Activists remonstrated with the rioters but to no avail. We then asked our supporters to please leave the area in a peaceful manner. Throughout the Twelfth night, some 16 members of the RUC/PSNI were injured, over 60 plastic bullets were fired and 9 arrests took place in Ardoyne including a 12 year-old boy. Everyone is well aware that GARC delivered over 6,000 leaflets to homes in the Greater Ardoyne community in the days before. The Collective also issued numerous media statements, calling upon the youth not to become involved in violence.

Responsibility for the riot and violence in Ardoyne lies fairly and squarely with the Orange Order, UVF and UDA for their insistance to parade where they are UNWELCOME. It also is at the door of the Parades Commission who permit/allow these sectarian marches take place and with the unreformed RUC who not only provoke an already tense situation but also force our community to endure bigots and their triumpalism!

GARC again challenge the North and West Belfast Cultural & Parades Forum to talks to explore the possibility of a resolution? GARC have consistentlyexpressed that your community have legitimate rights, we ask that the rights of local residents are equally respected! Would North Belfast Republican be allowed to march where they are NOT welcome? Would the Klu Klux Klan be allowed to parade through a Black area? Would Neo-Nazis be permitted to march through a Jewish community? The 'security operation' to faciliate these parades are very expensive and the taxpayer is always burdened to foot the bill. I wonder how many parades the Loyal Orders would insist upon. If they had to pay the bill? Would the funds used to facilitate these unwanted parades NOT be BETTER spent on better facilities for working-class communities that have been neglected by the Six County State for generations. So our children can a brighter future and more opportunities?

Written by GARC Activist, Martin Og Meehan
and published on his Ardoyne Republican Blog

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Still No Response from Stormont Politicans to GARC's Request

In spite of an appeal from the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) to Stormont Politicans, Alban McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and DFM. Martin McGuinness to demand Owen Patterson ban Tuesday's unwelcome secterian parade.

There has been no response to date, GARC feel that the unwanted march will cause inevitable violence and believe that Mr. Patterson has the power to overule the Parades Commission. They also believe that the above Politicians have the duty to properly represent the residents of Greater Ardoyne to live free from sectarian fear and harassment!

GARC reiterate our call for those Politicans who electorally represent the Greater Ardoyne community to demand that Owen Patterson stop Tueday's Orange Order marches!

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) Spokesman, DEE FENNELL calls on Stormont Politicans, Gerry Kelly MLA, Alban McGuinness MLA and the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP MLA to use their political influence with the Secretary of State, Owen Patterson to stop Tuesday's unwelcome Orange Order parades through the Greater Ardoyne area.

Mr. Fennell said; Given the negative determination against Ardoyne residents to parade within their OWN community.
Owen Patterson MUST use his legislative powers to STOP the Orange Order sectarian march trampling over the rights of local residents to live free from fear and sectarian harassment'!

The GARC spokesperson concluded; 'Gerry Kelly, Alban McGuinness and Martin McGuinness have a duty to ensure the rights of the Catholic/Nationalist and Republican community in Greater Ardoyne are upheld and we urge them to use their considerable mandates to that end'.

Friday, 8 July 2011

GARC Disgust at Parade Determination

Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) Spokesperson, Martin Og Meehan has expressed his community's disgust at the decison by the Parades Commission to restrict the route of Ardoyne residents away from the Crumlin Road on July 12.

Mr. Meehan said; 'The Greater Ardoyne community are angry that the Commission has permitted the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community to parade where they are clearly NOT WELCOME. However, local residents are NOT ALLOWED to march within their own area! It is now official, the people of Greater Ardoyne are second-class citizens in our own country'. 

He concluded; 'In spite of, this evening's disappointing determination. Our Collective again call opponents of next Tuesday's sectarian parade through Ardoyne to follow our lead and register their opposition by their presence. We ask that this MUST be in a calm, dignified and peaceful manner. These unwelcome marches NEED to seen for what they are and we do NOT want any violence'.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

GARC File for an Alternative Twelfth Ardoyne Parade

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) have applied for an alternative march through Ardoyne & the Crumlin Road for the 12th July between 7-9pm in the evening.

GARC have listed this to express their right and the right of the Greater Ardoyne community to live free from fear and sectarian harassment. According to the Parades Commission they will make a determination on it on the 8th July....

GARC ask everyone who attends this march to do so in a calm, dignified and peaceful manner to expose bigotry and partial British Policing! 

Please assemble at the Holy Mural @ 6.30pm on the Berwick Road, Ardoyne.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

GARC's Analysis of Unwelcome Parades Through Greater Ardoyne - 2011

Over the past few months, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) have been involved in intensive meetings involving the Catholic Church, CARA, the Parades Commission, the SDLP and a number of other Youth, Community and Political groups. To give our analysis of yearly unwelcome Loyal Order parades through the greater Ardoyne community and the equally unwelcome violence and destruction which they leave in their wake.
GARC accept that the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community have a legitimate right to express their religion, culture, heritage and allegiance to Britain. We do not wish to hinder those rights, however, parades should take place were they are welcome and this is clearly not the case on this stretch of the Crumlin Road.

When such parades are permitted our entire community is besieged by the full might of the imbalanced, riot-clad PSNI to ensure passage through our area by whatever means necessary. The Parades Commission's ignorance of our community's rights can only be quantified that we are looked upon as the lesser of two evils and as such, second-class citizens in our own country. Therefore, GARC ask where indeed is our rights to live free from sectarian fear and intimidation.
GARC believe that morning parades are equally contentious as the evening parades. A proposal for a possible solution re: restrictions/banning upon all marches and equally any offense caused to the greater Ardoyne could be averted by the development of the alternative route into a Grade A thoroughfare (this project could be financed by the wasted billions of taxpayers money used in past and future Policing operations) which would greatly benefit the working-class of both communities. That link two Loyalist/Unionist areas at Harmony Bridge. Where the Loyal Orders could parade in excess of normal parading dates without any objections from the Catholic/Nationalist and Republican community.

Our Collective call upon all opponents of sectarian parades through Ardoyne to take follow our lead and register their opposition by their presence. However, we stress this MUST be in a calm, dignified and peaceful manner. These unwelcome marches NEED to seen for what they truly are and NOT distracted by acts of violence.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


 Earlier this week, Unionists including members of the Orange Order, Loyalist Paramilitaries and Twaddell/Woodvale residents blocked the Woodvale and Twaddell Avenue for two successive nights. The large crowds ensured that access to two major roads was prevented and the RUC/PSNI facilitated these protests. 

The reason for holding these protests were that the Parades Commission had banned the annual 'Tour of the North' feeder parades from walking the Upper Crumlin Road through the Greater Ardoyne area. As these marches regularly cause increased community tensions and riots. After the feeder parade finished, a senior Orangeman handed the RUC/PSNI a letter of protest before the whole debacle ended in serious stone throwing and a mini riot. According to the PSNI, a number of it's members were injured during the disturbances.

Unsurprisingly for Greater Ardoyne residents, no plastic bullets at the Loyalist rioters. No water cannon was deployed against these crowds engaged in widespread rioting. To date, no one has been charged in connection with blocking the roads. Whereas last July, scores of Nationalist protesters were immediately arrested and appeared in Court charged with unlawfully blocking a major road.

Soon after these arrests, serious rioting broke out in the area by Nationalists who became inflamed by the huge military-style curfew imposed on the Greater Ardoyne area to facilitate an Orange march. Nearly 100 lethal plastic bullets were fired at local people. Some four water cannons were also used and dozens of RUC/PSNI members were injured by rioters.

The 'Policing' operation for the day cost the taxpayer over £2.2 million and the ensuing riots went down in history as a serious problem for a peaceful future. GARC had warned everyone that if the 12th Parade was permitted to proceed along the Crumlin Road, violence was inevitable. However, these warnings were ignored by the powers in Stormont who pushed ahead with their plans to force another unwelcome sectarian march through Ardoyne.

Now, we have again witnessed partial political policing which marred decades of the RUC's history. Wherby, the Nationalist community were treated as second-class citizens in a British State. Where the British Police constantly mistreated Nationalists and used peaceful resistance against Apartheid rule as subversive and to be crushed at all costs.

The recent Woodvale Riots and the kid-gloves approach to the Protestant/Unionist and Loyalist community demonstrates in clear terms that like the RUC. The PSNI refuses to deal with lawbreakers within that community. Which again proves that they are unreformable and will continue to be partial to British citizens in the Occupied Six Counties.

GARC call upon the new Parades Commission not to be intimidated by Unionist violence and when it debates this year's 12th parade through Greater Ardoyne it MUST rule in favour of local residents who want to be left in peace without enduring unwelcome marches, military-style curfews, plastic bullets and serious rioting! If there is NO PARADE, there will be NO VIOLENCE!