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Kelly comments following ‘Tour of the North’ Parade

19 June, 2009 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin north Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has commented on tonight’s ‘Tour of the North’ Parade.

Speaking after the parade passed Ardoyne this evening Mr Kelly said;

“Firstly, like the people of Ardoyne, I am deeply disappointed by the fact that the Parades Commission has once again allowed this contentious parade to pass by the Ardoyne community. Thankfully though, it passed off without major incident.

The people of Ardoyne held a peaceful and dignified protest highlighting our continued opposition to this contentious parade.

However, a number of individuals from certain micro groups attempted to entice young people in the area into attacking the parade; thankfully many of the young people approached me and other community representatives to inform us of this fact and stated very clearly that they would not be engaging in this type of activity.

Sadly however these individuals succeeded in enticing a small number of vulnerable young people into attacking the parade with stones.

It is now up to those groups and those individuals to explain themselves to the people of Ardoyne; to explain to stand over, before the people of Ardoyne, the fact that they chose to entice young people, not themselves, into attacking the passing parade.

What were their plans for after this took place? What did they hope it would achieve, other than to put further stress onto the people of this community?

These individuals and organisations chose not to take part in a community led, multi agency approach to this evening and I believe that reflects greatly their motivations and intentions in relation to tonight.

I commend those young people who showed such maturity and restraint and am saddened by those who allowed themselves to be manipulated by certain individuals. I also want to thank and pay tribute to those community activists and representatives whose great work ensured that tonight passed off without major incident and that the people of Ardoyne were freed from unnecessary violence and disruption.

I hope that tonight remains peaceful.” CRÍOCH

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