Front group – I know you are, what are they

It’s an open secret that Sinn Féin’s influence has been reduced to some extent in North Belfast Republican communities in general and Ardoyne in particular. Much of it seems to centre on members of the Republican Network for Unity creating or supporting alternatives to community structures long dominated by the shinners (though people supportive of other political groups and none are clearly involved too)

Gerry Kelly’s statement supporting the SF dominated CARA (Crumlin Ardyone Residents Association) and attacking Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) following the Loyalist ‘Tour of the North’ parade indicates where SF see their challenges in North Belfast – with a nationalist residents group, not unwanted parades:

GARC is self-styled, non-elected and constituted, it would seem, for the sole purpose of undermining other residents groups and undermining possible peaceful resolutions to existing issues.

The GARC claim they were set up:

In September a meeting took place in Ardoyne Hall attended by a large group of local people, most of who left after being informed that they couldn’t be members of C.A.R.A (a Sinn Fein dominated group with their own agenda which represents no-one’s interests other than their own) because they didn’t live within a particular catchment area.

Though as I noted back in 2008 when SF started to lose influence in the St James area of West Belfast they come out fighting, so Kelly’s attitude to a group of residents outside his party’s control is nothing new.

ADDS: The GARC have adopted a slogan of ‘No Parades, No Violence’ – and I agree with Gerry Kelly they should be challenged over this. It is a ridiculous phrase and reads like a threat.

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  • padraig

    Since Gerry himself comes from outside North Belfast and was ferried in to the area amidst considerable local SF dismay it seems very like the pot calling the kettle black.

    As to people being, ‘Unelected’, well I recall during the war this was one of the main criticisms by the SDLP, Unionists, Stickies and others of Sinn Fein; plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  • Once again PSF in the form of Mr. Kelly attempts to criminalise the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective or G.A.R.C. Instead he should critise the Loyal Orders who insist on marching through a community who have overwhelmingly voted to reject such secterian marches!

    As for C.A.R.A., everyone in Ardoyne know fine well, it’s only a front organisation for PSF.

    While G.A.R.C. fully accept that C.A.R.A. represent a certain section of the Greater Ardoyne community. G.A.R.C. has carried-out a widespread survey of all residents in the area concerning these troublesome parades and published its results on its blog for everyone to view. G.A.R.C. have also published and delivered a news-sheet to every home in the Greater Ardoyne area…With the results of the survey inside. They have also spoken to Protestant residents from the Woodvale area, as well as the Spokesman for the North and West Belfast Parades Forum to outline its position.

    As for the large painting erected yesterday in Ardoyne, it wasn’t meant to provoke anyone but to outline G.A.R.C.’s well-known position on marches – No Parade – No Violence. The slogan may well be read as a threat but I can assure everyone…Its meant that, if there’s no more secterian parades then violence will also be no more!

  • Mark McGregor


    I’m going to be brutally honest.

    CARA may or not be a SF front group but every single RNU (north belfast), CFAD, GRAC statement seems to come from the same pen – Mairtin Meehan. Yourself.

    Being involved in many things is fine but the same PRO for three groups does help Kelly’s claim imho.

    Don’t you think?

  • Donald Fraser

    People’s liberation front of Judea. Why can’t all these wankpots just FUCK. OFF. Ardoyne is an open-air sewer (as are most parts of North Belfast) – any chance any of these jokers could gather together to do something about that rather than wittering-on about parades? Yes, parades are stupid, yes the Orange Order are anachronistic fuck-wits – we all know that. I’d rather have the Orange Order marching down my street twice a day and live in a pleasant, clean, civilised area than have them marching once or twice a year and living in the dump that the Ardoyne in particular, and North Belfast in general is.

  • Mark with respect chara,

    I’m the National PRO for the Republican Network for Unity appointed at RNU’s last Ard Fheis.

    CFAD and GARC have its own spokespeople who can voice the Ardoyne community’s quite well and don’t need my help.

    However, when Gerry Kelly is so blatantly issuing lies and untruths about my beloved community. What should I do, sit back and not challenge him?

    Maybe U should ask him, why so many PSF members are indeed members of CARA and why its spokesperson is also a Party member?

  • Mrazik

    …it wasn’t meant to provoke anyone but to outline G.A.R.C.’s well-known position on marches – No Parade – No Violence. The slogan may well be read as a threat but I can assure everyone…Its meant that, if there’s no more secterian parades then violence will also be no more!

    Er…thanks for clarifying that.

  • What’s with all the bad language mate?

    If U don’t wanna read or listen to stories about Ardoyne, log-off, simple?

    BTW, Ardoyne is far-from a dump or open-air sewer….Its a very proud working-class community who treat visitors with respect and dignity….Wouldn’t fancy walking down your street and falling, would get much compassion there nor would anyone, with an attitude like yours but thanks for your input.

  • anne warren

    Donald said “I’d rather have the Orange Order marching down my street twice a day”
    Dear Donald, have you informed the Orange Order that you want them? Great. Welcome them with open arms and hearts. Make them feel loved and wanted. Invite them to march up and down the street/road/crescent/gardens/avenue/park/heights of your pleasant, clean, civilised area as often as they like. Twice a day, every day. Insist they play their music, beat their drums and toot their flutes. Applaud them, cheer them on, wave flags and finally, most importantly, convince them to march only where they will receive a similar rapturous welcome. Where the handsome boys and lovely girls in their bandsmen uniforms are not exposed to any hostility and where they are appreciated to the full. This is your civic duty not only towards members of the Orange Order, who should not have to put up with feeling rejected and unwanted, but also towards the young people who do so much to provide the music and deserve a far better setting for playing than ungrateful, resentful Fenians.

  • Chara, out of 365 nights in the year…..There’s possiblly only two maybe three nights of serious trouble in Ardoyne..

    Which all revolves around Loyal Order marches, nothing else! In other words, local residents take great exception to these secterian displays and respond with violence….

    The above motto, I humbly believe means that if there’s no more parades then violence will also be no more?

    Let’s be honest here, would a Jewish community allow Neo-Nazis or a Black community allow the Klu Klux Klan march through their areas? Would there not be a violent reaction? Well, most people in Ardoyne view these bigoted parades much in the same way…..

    Ardoyne is a Catholic community and they don’t wish to have an exclusively Protestant organisation who clearly hate Catholics march through their community!

    At least G.A.R.C have asked the majority their views and have published the findings.

  • Recent G.A.R.C. Survey Results:

    Human Rights Compliance of Loyal Order Marches:

    Before carrying out the survey we sought advice from human rights specialists and statistical experts who said we should carry out a sample survey of about 400 homes. However, the Collective felt that everyone affected had the right to express their opinion so every house got a form delivered to it.

    Some weeks ago we received the report back from the independent experts and we are releasing it today. The full report will be available to all interested parties on our new website in the coming weeks.


    Over 1100 fully completed forms were returned to the surveyors. These forms were independently verified, signed off by the residents.

    Out of the completed responses;

    89.4 % or 1000 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parades were not acceptable and must take an alternative route.

    10.3% or 115 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parade could march only with the following strict conditions without music or Loyalist emblems as acceptable, so long as there is no return march in the evening!

    0.4% or 4 households stated that the Loyal Orange Order parades were acceptable.

    It is clear that the overwhelming majority of greater Ardoyne residents find Loyal Orange Order marches completely unacceptable.

    Some 99% of residents of all residents stated the present arrangements were completely unacceptable and needed changed.


    Almost 90% of residents throughout greater Ardoyne find this contentious parade completely unacceptable in any form and want it re-routed.

  • Nunoftheabove

    It’s not either/or guys and gals; frankly though I agree that the area has greater priorities than the Orangie yahoos walking about the place like ridiculously dressed fools through it. Best though to debate with them on their religious and political beliefs (yes they are vehemently sectarian however not all of what they fearered about Home Rule being Rome Rule was entirely without merit – face it – and whilst I can’t abide Christanity in my face, of any description or from any quarter, that difficulty is not an exclusively protestant one I think you’ll find) than smash up the place where you live. If decent citizens in North belfast had a bit of sense they’d be as circumspect about a minibus full of priests driving about the area as a bunch of ordinary working class boozed Rangers fans with flutes.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Fine; but why does the opposition to the pardes always seem to be being ultimatety articulated by violent lumpenproletariat teenagers wwho seem determined to bemirch the good name of Celtic who then go on to blame the police for the behaviour of the lamentable OO ? Parts of North Belfast have always seemed to me to be much more like the west of scotland than most of the rest of Ireland. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

  • TheHorse

    Why sould people not be entitled to challenge the ethos of the Orange Order. The use of violence is wrong and cannot be justified but are the Orange Order any different in regards to using violence to achieve their aims. Is the demand to parade through catholic areas worth the deaths of innocent people, we can look back through our history and see the results of the Orange Orders demands for privlidges through catholic areas and government denial of those demands – violence and deaths of innocent people carried out by supporters of the Orange Order.

  • anne warren

    Nunoftheabove said Fine:
    Reply: So glad you agree with me. So happy you, and hopefully many others, are convinced the Orange Order should be free, nay encouraged, to march only where they are truly welcomed. Might a questionnaire to the effect that they should march as often and as long as the residents desire be in order?

    And then Nunofthe above went on to spoil it all and object that “the opposition to the pardes always seem to be being ultimatety articulated by violent lumpenproletariat teenagers . . .”

    Reply: is your class prejudice showing?

  • anne warren

    Horse. An excellent overview challenging the ethos of the Orange Order can be found at

    You will find evidence to support your view that “the demand to parade through catholic areas” is undoubtedly at the root of violence and murder, and that in the past, the British government in Ireland suspended Orange parades for this very reason for many years. In recent times, their insistence on marching wherever they wanted has cost the British taxpayer millions of pounds in policing and hospital costs,damage to business and residential property as well as vehicles. To say nothing of goodwill. In these straitened times, it is to be hoped that the Orange Order and their supporters see the advantages of marching only where they are welcome.

  • Reader

    ArdEoin Republican: However, the Collective felt that everyone affected had the right to express their opinion so every house got a form delivered to it.
    Every house on both sides of the whole route out to the same distance?
    Or what *was* the franchise for this survey?

  • Reader

    anne warren: Reply: is your class prejudice showing?
    Well said. The bourgoisie never riot, and the proletariat rarely do. Typically, its the trash*. So Nunoftheabove needs to get his terms sorted out.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Anne, what’s your objection to a class analysis of the issue, are you more comfortable arguing impotently within the confines of sectarian parochialism ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    When the only outcome is in effect collective self-injury and where this represents as it does straigtforward distraction from more pressing social and economic matters, or indeed decent civil struggle, unprovoked anti-OO violence is in effect nihilistic. If you want to use the word trash, that’s your business comrade.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Yes and it would be good if they picked up a portion of the cost for the policing of them. Mind you, I don’t think it would be entirely reasonable to expect them to pay for the damage caused by bored alienated youths who attack these parades either. Much chance of a questionnaire/survey on that one would you think ?

  • TheHorse

    “When the only outcome is in effect collective self-injury and where this represents as it does straigtforward distraction from more pressing social and economic matters, or indeed decent civil struggle”

    Yes Noneoftheabove your right but you’d think those well educated members of the Orange Order would also realise that instead of holding the country to ransom demanding to march wherever they please regardless of the financial and social upheaval not to mention the possible loss of life, they could actually converse with their fellow human beings and agree a compromise saving society its sanity.

  • Nunoftheabove

    ArdEoin Republican

    This business of allowing/entitling communities (however defined) to determine who stands/danders//dances/pogoes/marches in ‘their’ neighbourhoods or not – how’s this to be governed if applied universally ? How do you square that with freedom of assembly rights ?

  • anne warren

    Reply: Have no prejudices any logical form of argument/analysis. Saying “class” analysis doesn’t mean anything in itself.Perhaps you would like to provide one so that I can see if I want to object to it:
    Am I arguing impotently? You seem unable to reply to a coherent series of arguments. Please related the term “sectarian parochialism” in a logic and coherent manner to anything I have written on this post.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I agree TheHorse. I just think that the effective counter-threat of (self-harming, at least in part) mayhem and all of the cost and pain which goes with that isn’t that impressive as a tactic or represent much of an effort to take the moral high ground. Not when a portion of it is being articulated by some of these laughable self-pitying death-cultist splinter groups and ‘enforced’ by a small but dependable rump of credulous underclass yobboes in green and white hoops and tracksuit bottoms, at any rate. It’s not exactly Selma-to-Montgomery inspirational now is it really ?

  • anne warren

    it would be good if they picked up a portion of the cost . . .
    Who are they? I was talking about British taxpayers. People in NI are British taxpayers, as are people in England, Scotland and Wales. British taxpayers paid the bill.
    Am I to understand you think the Orange Order should have paid the bill? If so, ask your Assembly Member to propose it

  • Nunoftheabove

    I used the word lumpemprolatariat, you accuse me of class prejudice. I respond to that referring to class analysis and you say that doesn’t mean anything in itself. I’m afraid that if you don’t ‘get’ that or are unable to apply it to the thread then one doesn’t have the time or inclination to assist you further with it.

    To the extent that you apear unwilling or unable to bring a class perspective to this matter, then yes I think the assumption of your preference for parochial and sectarian parameters within which to consider this matter is not unreasonable.

    Quite happy to respond meanaingfully to a coherent series or arguments. Just let me know when you’ve provided such a series and we can begin to engage constructively then, fair enough ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    I’m not sure the plain meaning of my words is getting through to you Anne. I don’t wish to be rude but have you enjoyed a drop or two of the cratur this evening ?

  • TheHorse

    At the end of the day its all about control, its a virus that is unique to this state if you consider that those portrayed by the media as being negitive are puppets for more sinister types then who’s the Orange Order’s master.

  • Nunoftheabove

    …some of that good ole SF Stalinism’s really seeped into your pores, hasn’t it TheHorse ? And here was I trying to avoid using refernces to seige mentalities….

  • Nunoftheabove

    Meaning ?

  • TheHorse

    Noneoftheabove I support no one I dont even vote I was brought up a catholic but am not religious I have many protestant friends who I deeply respect who have no affiliation with the Orange Order, it is they who guide me as to how I think of the right to parade wherever you wish, in todays evolving multi cultural society we now have emerging from this conflict a mellowing of minds, an understanding of whats bullshit and what not, this belief in a god given right to parade wherever you like fits in the bullshit section along with the Sinn Fein dream of them achieving a United Ireland.

  • Dixie

    And the same people burnt Gerry Fitt out for less…

  • joeCanuck

    If you don’t wish to be rude, then don’t be rude. It’s really very simple, unless you have had a few drinks too many.

  • Rathcoole resident

    What a joke…I have the dubious pleasure of having to work in ardoyne from time to time and dont relish it at all.
    The hoods run amok and they must have their own weather system judging by the colour of the locals,more orange faces in ardoyne at school time than Royal Avenue on the Twelfth.
    A rats nest is how i would describe the place.
    Hope you enjoy reaping what you sowed for so long,what else did you think the outcome would be ?

  • Cynic

    Did they do a survey of the Orange side of the road to see what was unacceptable to them?

  • Cynic

    I also find it truly amazing that in Ardoyne they got 1100 responses.. Any Polling Expert will tell you that is next to impossible. Unless of course the forms were collected from homes and people asked on the doorstep (in an open neutral and supportive way of course) ‘do you want the OO to parade or will you sign this”

  • Cynic

    As Gerrry candidly admitted one day, SF created the whole parades issue in many areas. It took them years and now they want to tone it down and cant.

  • Cynic

    By the way, does Gerry Kelly still need all those former PIRA minders to protect him when he descends to Ardoyne on constituency business?

  • Nunoftheabove


    The rudeness of tone’s anne warren’s, not mine.

  • johno

    So, let’s see, today Ardoyne has been described as ‘an open sewer’ and ‘a rats nest’.

    A couple of weeks ago we were told that murderous savagery was in Catholic ‘blood’.

    Nice to see the blogosphere being used to peddle such sectarian filth.

    Very progressive, eh Mick?

  • Cynic

    You think that’s bad you should see what some people here post about the ‘Brits’ – blatant racist garbage.

  • Alias

    Well, that’s the thing with PC agendas. Sectarianism is a bit like the flu virus: it always some variant of it to defeat the latest remedy. The political structure of the dysfunctional NI statelet wherein two nations compete with each other for control of one state(let) makes sectarianism part of its constitution, so curing the sympthons one-by-one is the best remedy that you’re ever going to get when the cause can’t be treated.

  • johno

    Is that right, Cynic?

    Any examples – or was just pulled out of the air?

  • Rory Carr

    G.A.R.C., in its statement claims that C.A.R.A is a ” group with their own agenda which represents no-one’s interests other than their own”.

    But isn’t that also true of G.A.R.C. themselves?

    Indeed is it not true of any group? It would be a weird group indeed that did not have its own agenda and represented interests other than its own.

    G.A.R.C. may not like C.A.R.A.’s agenda or care for its interests but, so what? The feeling is probably mutual.

    Mark argues that Sinn Féin find themslves challenged by “a nationalist residents group,[but not by] unwanted parades.” It might better be understood that Sinn Féin are engaged with the established residents’ group in order to work with them on how best to resolve the long-standing issue of parades.One current obstacle to resolution is clearly a small group of disaffected individuals who have a vested interest in maintaining tension and division in the community and who find that provoking violent encounters is their best way to inflame tension.

    Gerry Kelly was quite right to criticise them. They are a blight on their community and serve it no good purpose.

  • johno


  • johno

    That’ll be pulled out of the air then, eh?

  • Just read the following Garc response to Kelly’s comments on their blog;

  • Rory with respect, GARC are also engaged with ‘the established residents group, CARA…..

    Two senior members of CARA recently attended a GARC meeting, where both agreed the need for an agreed position on future Loyal Order parades in the Ardoyne area.

    The only obstacle to a peaceful future in Ardoyne and surrounding areas are the Loyal Orders who insist on marching where they are clearly not welcome and their supporters in the UVF who continue to inflame the situation, if U don’t believe me just ask Brian Robinson’s family!

  • Mark McGregor


    Lets not forget the GARC did attack CARA before Kelly made his comments.

  • Maybe so Mark, but they do have a legitimate point about CARA’s formation, make-up and of course membership etc.

  • Nunoftheabove

    ArdEoin Republican

    Surely the “determination of the P.S.N.I. in forcing the parade through at all costs” is simply a function of their duty to enforce the legislation and/or parades directive issued to them rather than this being something within which they can apply their discretion or is something else being implied here ?

    Also, can you provide a break down of the £650k costs estimate and paticularly highlight the proportion of that attributable directly to the damage inflicted by residents and/or their co-travellers from the non-orange side, whether actual residents or their ‘allies’ from other nationalist districts ? I’m not being judgmental in mentioning this, if the cost issue is one which flies then as I’m sure you’ll agree we should not be bandying about figures loosely without analysing them properly.


  • vanhelsing

    Battle of the Bogside says:
    11 June 2010 at 5:34 pm

    The British state and its policies result in the obscene lingering death of many thousands. Children, as well as adults, die on a daily basis as a direct result of British government instruction.

    The British Queen sits decked in gold and jewels while children starve to death as a direct result of British state fascist dogma

    I would like to see you stand by this one Johno.

    Both sides write stuff I find unacceptable. It’s the nature of the site – I suppose if you don’t like it you leave…

  • castrosghost

    Oh no, not this time of year again.

  • Oracle

    More of an embarrassed climb down than a response

  • damon

    Does the local Loyalist flute band Pride of Ardoyne also provoke this threat of violence if they want to march locally? It seems a bit harsh on them if it does.
    Where are they meant to go?

    I saw there were people from ”Loyalist Ardoyne” on The Tour of the North – as they had that embroidered on their shirts.
    And I presume they couldn’t march all the way home past the Ardoyne shops (their local shops) without it turning into a riot.
    As an Englishman I don’t really get this.

  • Nunoftheabove


  • Re ‘self-harm’ & ‘the costs’: the real harm is not the physical injury, nor is it to do with how others (such as Noneoftheabove) see the oppressed (the lumpenproletariat or it’s ‘teenage ‘trash”), and the real cost surely is not monetary. The real harm to self and the real cost to the nationalist community, to the Unionist community, and to society at large was to self-respect, self-esteem, community, human dignity, human rights.

    Portadown wasn’t Selma or Alabama when the Orange riots started (200+ years ago).

    Thanks for the mention Anne Warren. I wonder will ‘Noneof theabove’ be bothered …?

  • Noneoftheabove – see ORANGECITADEL.BLOGSPOT.COM
    It’s written by a member of the lumpenproletariat (aka ‘the unwashed ragtag mob’ from the Tunnel) – proud to have been ‘teenage trash’ etc.

  • Nunoftheabove


    …am I supposed to be impressed or surprised by anything on/within that blog ?

  • Nunoftheabove


    I don’t necessarily disagree with most of that as a matter of fact. I just wonder what contribution to precisely those aspects is made by non-peaceful protests by disenfranchised nationalists ?

  • How would I know what surprises you – on/within anything. The blog is there to infrom – not surprise.
    Were you informed by anything in/on/within that blog ?

    Re. contribution of non-peaceful… I guess you’d have to have been there to understand.
    But then, I guess you wouldn’t have been there.