Residents reject priest’s Orange march initiative

Fr Aidan Troy withdraws comments from online blog

A former parish priest in Belfast’s Ardoyne has withdrawn his suggestion to allow an Orange march through the area as a goodwill gesture in the face of the violence in the Middle East, following an angry reaction from residents’ groups.

Fr Aidan Troy, who ministered during the Holy Cross school protest but is now based in Paris, called on people in Ardoyne and Woodvale to show that “long-standing divisions of neighbours are capable of improvement when people of goodwill take a risk for peace”.

Loyalists have been holding a protest camp at Twaddell since the Parades Commission banned an Orange parade from marching past Ardoyne shops last year.


Writing in his online blog last week, Fr Troy said gestures “can be significant in calling people to the ways of peace”, and asked “Supposing an agreement could reached to withdraw the objections to the return parade of July 2013 and intensify efforts being made for parading in 2015?”

Both the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association (Cara) and Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective (Garc) said people in the area did not share Fr Troy’s views.

“Fr Troy would probably be best served looking after the welfare of his parishioners where he is based now rather than trying to dictate to the people of Ardoyne what they should and should not accept in terms of loyal order parades,” said Dee Fennell from Garc.

Joe Marley from Cara said it was not “realistic” to compare Belfast to the situation in Gaza, and that an accommodation must “meets the needs of everyone”.

Fr Troy has since edited out the question on a possible response in North Belfast from his blog “lest what I raised could distract from sincere efforts being made by people in the area”, and “remarks directed at me personally could make the messenger rather than the children of Gaza the central point”.”.