BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Dispute school governor meets Ahern
Father Aidan Troy (left) with the Irish premier
Father Aidan Troy (left) with the Irish premier
The chairman of the north Belfast school at the centre of a sectarian dispute has met the Irish premier and Irish president on Thursday.

Father Aidan Troy, chairman of the board of governors of the Catholic Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, has been involved in efforts to try to end the dispute with Protestant residents.

He met Irish President Mary McAleese at her official residence in Dublin before meeting Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking after the meeting, Fr Troy said: "The crucial issue is to get people like Taoiseach Ahern, Tony Blair and Mary McAleese to keep standing up and say this is unacceptable."

Mr Ahern said: "I urge local politicians and community representatives to re-double their efforts in the coming days to facilitate inter-community dialogue and local agreement on the way forward.

"The protest at the school should be brought to an end immediately before more damage is inflicted on the innocent victims of this dispute."

Residents from of the Glenbryn area, where the school is situated, have been protesting at the school for seven weeks because of alleged attacks by the larger Catholic community in Ardoyne.

Father Aidan Troy:
Father Troy has suggested pupils take buses to school
The pupils have been escorted past the loyalist protesters by the security forces every day since the beginning of the school term.

The placard and whistle protest has been relatively peaceful in recent weeks, but erupted into the violence at the beginning of September.

The Northern Ireland Office, local politicians and church leaders have been involved in trying to resolve the dispute.

The latest efforts have focused on how the pupils of Holy Cross are brought to school.

Earlier this week, Father Troy suggested that the children could be brought to school by bus or car.

Bertie Ahern will meet Father Troy on Thursday
Bertie Ahern met Father Troy on Thursday
He put this idea to the parents at a public meeting on Tuesday evening.

Loyalist political and community representatives said they would not want Catholic parents to bring their cars up the disputed route along the Ardoyne Road.

But last week the Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne group said the protests would be called off if the Holy Cross pupils were taken to school on buses provided by the local education authority.

The residents have also asked for increased security to protect the buses on which Protestant secondary school children travel home through north Belfast.

A number of pupils have been injured in stone-throwing attacks in recent weeks.

The attacks have been on buses carrying pupils from the Girls' and Boys' Model secondary schools.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Dispute school extra cash criticised
15 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
New move urged over school dispute
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Buses offer to end school protest
14 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Priest likens Holy Cross to Afghanistan
11 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Peace wall for school dispute
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories