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Loyalist Springfield Road Protest intended to heighten tensions

7 September, 2005

Sinn Féin West Belfast Councillor Tom Hartley has accused Loyalist Protestors who blocked the Springfield Road this morning of trying to heighten tensions.

Cllr Hartley said:

"The chaos created this morning was designed to heighten tensions in the Springfield Road area. The ongoing tension and stress this imposes upon the nationalist community on the Springfield Road and the stress it imposes on community relations is unacceptable and should be removed.

"It is an attempt to try and overturn the ruling of the Parades Commission. The Orange Order should avail of the generous compromise route through the Mackies site out onto the Springfield Road which was put forward by the local community as a sensible way forward. Instead they continue with their demand to march along the Springfield Road through the closed gates at Workmans.

"This protest this morning has been particularly hard on parents bringing their children to school.

"If the Orange Order want to march through areas where the local community does not want them then at the very least they have an obligation to enter into real and meaningful dialogue. Threatening host communities and raising tensions in interface areas is not the way forward. The Orange Order and Loyalist who organised this protest need to understand that the only way forward is through dialogue and respect for the community living in the Springfield Road area." ENDS

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