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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 17:21 GMT
Complaints over Holy Cross policing
Father Aidan Troy demanded a meeting with the police
Father Aidan Troy demanded a meeting with the police
An urgent meeting is being sought with police following complaints about a security operation outside a Catholic primary school in north Belfast.

The chairman of the board of governors at Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne said police had forced children and parents off pavements near the school on Tuesday.

The security forces have been escorting pupils past the loyalist protesters along the Ardoyne Road since the beginning of term in September.

Residents from the Glenbryn area, where the school is situated, have been protesting because of alleged attacks which they blamed on Catholic residents from nearby Ardoyne.

However, security arrangements have been relaxed this week after Protestant residents reached an understanding with the police at the weekend.


On Monday morning, police officers were not wearing full riot gear for the first time in the 11-week dispute.

But Father Aidan Troy said a change in the security arrangements at the school had brought no benefit to the parents.

He said the parents now had a "zero confidence" in the way the situation was being policed.

The Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne group held intensive meetings with senior police officers over the weekend.

The full details of the understanding are unknown but the residents said they would be making every effort to ensure the protests were peaceful and that the situation was regularly reviewed.

On Monday, protesters stood away from police vehicles as children and parents went to the school.

There were no noisy horns which have previously greeted the parents as they returned from the school.

Safety

However, Isobel McGrann of the Right to Education Group said parents and children felt vulnerable because of the reduction in security measures.

Police Superintendent Robert Robinson said he welcomed the fact that Monday's protest had been peaceful, but said his priority remained the safety of the children.

Efforts to find a resolution to the dispute over the pupils' route to Holy Cross have so far failed, but it was hoped an agreement could be found during the extended mid-term break.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Dispute school extra cash criticised
15 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
New move urged over school dispute
25 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Commission head meets RUC chief
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
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