Greater Ardoyne Resident’s Collective (GARC) spokesman Mairtin Og Meehan has confirmed the group’s intention to stage a protest at the Apprentice Boy’s parade past Ardoyne on August 14, reports the newsletter.
ABOD Ligoniel Walker Club have sought permission for a parade with one band and up to 90 participants, with August 4 the date set for the Parades Commission’s consideration of the application.
Meehan said if the “socially detached and discredited Parades Commission” allow the Apprentice Boys to march past Ardoyne then, “Yes, there will be a peaceful and dignified protest held by the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective in opposition to such a march.”
Meehan who was arrested and charged with ‘obstructive sitting’ during the Crumlin Road protest has also today on republican forums ruled out any possibility of GARC seeking permission from the Parades Commission for the Apprentice Boys protest. The Parades Commission confirmed yesterday that GARC’s sit-down protest on July 12 was deemed illegal as the Group did not apply for it under legislation regulating parades and related protests. The Commission also affirmed that illegal parades and protests are not a matter for them, but the PSNI.
The fact that the Apprentice Boys parade takes place between 8am and 9.15am on a Saturday morning with no return leg might just diffuse some of the tension and violence of the ‘Twelfth’ rioting in the area.
However another sit-down protest on the road will in all likelihood instigate a confrontation with police, who you would expect to arrive better prepared after their initial dumbstruck efforts to disperse the GARC protesters on the ‘Twelfth’.
By coincidence August 14 is also the opening day of the 2010/11 SPL season with Celtic due to kick off in a noon game away to Inverness that Sky are televising. Ridiculous as this may sound, bars full of people drinking from morning at a flash-point with a heavy police presence is hardly going to help matters.
Elsewhere Gerry Adams said today that Sinn Fein remain “unequivocal” in their opposition to “so-called dissident groups exploiting the tensions and fears surrounding Orange marches”.
Adams appealed for leaders of loyal orders to meet with him and said;
No accurate financial cost has been placed on this years violence but in a reply to an Assembly question the PSNI estimated that the cost of policing the parades for the period June to August last year was around £2,899,770; the vast majority of these costs would have been incurred policing LOL, Black and Apprentice Boys parades.