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EDITIONS
Friday, 28 June, 2002, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Mediators called in over north Belfast
Army vehicles
Mediators will report by the end of July
The first and deputy first ministers have made a fresh attempt to resolve a dispute at a north Belfast sectarian flashpoint.

David Trimble and Mark Durkan have called in independent arbitrators to negotiate over plans to build a new peace wall near the Ardoyne Road.

It is close to the Catholic Holy Cross Girls' Primary School where loyalists were engaged in protests.

The ministers' initiative follows months of serious rioting in the area, which at its most serious, resulted in a 12 week protest by Protestant residents at the school last year.


if the opening line is that the wall is there anyway, then we have big problems

Father Aidan Troy

The dispute centred on alleged attacks on Protestant homes by the larger Catholic community in the Ardoyne area.

Sue and Steve Williams, who are 'conflict consultants', have been asked to make recommendations by the end of July.

They will report even if an agreement has not been reached by the opposing sides.

Earlier proposals by the first and deputy first ministers were accepted by loyalists, but nationalists rejected the proposal for a wall as it would block their view of Holy Cross.

'Opening line'

However, both politicians said they hoped all sides would focus on finding a solution before the new school term in September.


If they can't make decisions on this, why are we going back to having mediators?

Anne Bill
Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne

Father Aidan Troy, chairman of the school's board of governors, gave a cautious welcome to the move.

However, he added: "I will work all of July and August if we are sitting down with a blank sheet of paper - but if the opening line is that the wall is there anyway, then we have big problems."

Anne Bill of the loyalist Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne, said that so far deadlines had not worked.

"Last July, we had the Mediation Network and then we had facilitators in August, then government officials, then the first and deputy first ministers," she said.

"If they can't make decisions on this, why are we going back to having mediators?"
Fr Aidan Troy
Fr Aidan Troy: Cautious welcome

Meanwhile, a High Court action over the proposal to build a wall was adjourned on Friday.

Father Troy is seeking a judicial review of the decision by the first and deputy first ministers to erect a wall at the junction of Ardoyne Road and Alliance Avenue.

But the case was adjourned by agreement after a lawyer said there had been "various developments".

Mr Justice Kerr directed an adjournment until September 13.

See also:

08 May 02 | N Ireland
06 May 02 | N Ireland
05 May 02 | N Ireland
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