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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 13:55 GMT
Head to Head: Riots in Ardoyne Road
HEAD TO HEAD
As trouble flares again around the Catholic Holy Cross primary school in north Belfast, community leaders are called on to try to settle the seething conflicts in the Ardoyne Road.

Billy Hutchinson, of the Progressive Unionist Party, says the latest rioting was caused by parents of children at the school attacking Protestant homes in the area.

Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O'Brion disagrees, and says there have been renewed assaults by the Protestant community on the parents and children.

One thing they do agree on is for the need for dialogue between the two groups.


Billy Hutchinson, Progressive Unionist Party:


The school was closed because the children couldn't get down the road because nationalists were rioting - not loyalists, nationalists.

We need to be clear that what we need to do is make sure that we get both communities in the dialogue and that people sit down round the table and try to discuss this now.

We were told when the protest was called off last year that these talks would happen. Unfortunately neither the security minister nor the assistant chief constable for Belfast has acted on what they said they would in terms of the security issues.

I wrote them a letter before Christmas. I got a reply yesterday from the assistant chief constable who told me that everything was rosy in the Ardoyne Road, that the security that he had in place was OK.

I have had reports on more than one occasion this week that people were being abused by parents coming from the school.

It sickens me the way the parents are being treated by people in that road.

There's been no violence against the children this week.

The violence yesterday came from the nationalist community.



Eoin O'Brion, Sinn Fein:


I don't want to get into a slanging match with Billy - I don't think it's useful, although I have to say I have a very different interpretation of events yesterday.

Parents were talking about how since Monday the situation going up and down to the school had deteriorated so much that people had been victims of physical abuse and verbal abuse.

We need to get into immediate dialogue to resolve this situation.

None of us wants to see the scenes that we saw either in the Ardoyne Road, Crumlin Road or Brompton Park yesterday.

We cannot sit back and say: 'Well, they need to do this before we do'. It's not going to happen.

With the greatest respect to Billy, while some of what he's saying is accurate, there's many things Billy has left out because there have been attacks on parents, there has been abuse given to children in the last few days and we need to resolve that as well as everything else.


See also:

10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Talks follow night of riots
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
North Belfast's streets of hatred
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Cars attacked at Catholic school
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Footpath row 'led to riots'
09 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Rioting follows NI school dispute
03 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Ardoyne Stories: Peace lines and division
07 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Counting the cost against the children
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