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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
New move urged over school dispute
Parents and children walk to school amid tight security
Parents and children walk to school amid tight security
A priest at the centre of the Holy Cross school dispute in north Belfast has suggested parents should consider using cars or buses to take their children to school.

Father Aidan Troy, chairman of the board of governors at Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, said he would be redoubling his efforts to find a resolution to the dispute.

It is the seventh week of the protest by residents of the Protestant Glenbryn estate, over alleged attacks on their homes by republicans, and the route the Catholic children take to school.

Last week, the residents offered to end their protests if children were bused to the school, which is located in a Protestant area.

Father Aidan Troy:
Father Aidan Troy: Hoping to convene meeting of parents

On Monday, Father Troy said: "I think the parents, as the weather gets colder and wetter, should begin to take their cars.

"If the school wishes to provide a bus to ensure the safe return of children, then I think we should use the bus.

"If some parents say: "We must still walk up the road" then that number of parents and their children are quite entitled to walk up the road.

"We must have a security backing to allow that. So in other words, instead of closing the road, let's open the road."

I think the parents as the weather gets colder and wetter should begin to take their cars.

Father Aidan Troy

However, north Belfast assembly member, Billy Hutchinson of the Progressive Unionist Party, said he would be wary of the use of cars.

He claimed they had been used to mount attacks in the past.

The school's board of governors is to meet on Monday night to discuss the situation, and Father Troy hopes to convene a meeting of the parents on Tuesday evening.


The pupils have been escorted to school every day by the police past protesting loyalists.

The protest has been relatively peaceful in recent weeks, but it erupted into serious violence in September.

Tensions whipped up by the dispute have spilled onto the streets of north Belfast at night in recent weeks.

The Protestant residents say they are protesting because of attacks on their homes by republicans from the larger Catholic community in Ardoyne.

The Northern Ireland Office has been trying to broker talks between the Catholic and Protestant residents of Ardoyne. So far, one face-to-face meeting this term has been held.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy last week announced the peaceline security wall in the area would be extended to try to create a feeling of security in the two communities.

BBC NI's Shane Glynn reports
"Parents and pupils walk in silence, loyalists turn their back in equally silent protest"
See also:

14 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Priest likens Holy Cross to Afghanistan
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Tensions at Belfast dispute school
11 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Peace wall for school dispute
01 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Ministers tackle north Belfast violence
04 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Church plea over dispute school
06 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Ardoyne school dispute: Parents' dilemma
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