The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) addresses the issue of the Ardoyne community being disempowered by a lack of accountability and public information.
In light of the large quantity of negative publicity which has focused upon the Greater Ardoyne area in recent times, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) calls for clarification from a number of individuals and organisations regarding matters which affect the lives of local residents on a daily basis.
The lack of transparency and local accountability within some organisations and groups which operate within the area, their actions and stance on certain issues, has become a serious cause for concern for many local residents.
Attempts to gain insight, accountability and information from some organisations in the past has led to scurrilous and untruthful accusations of intimidation and threat. The sensational headlines and media hype surrounding the most recent alleged “threats” to clergy, youth and community workers also need to be scrutinised for accuracy. A genuine attempt to ascertain their true nature and the validity of any “threat” real or imaginary to the health, wellbeing or safety of those people named should be made, as in the past the dishonest manner in which such allegations have been dealt with has led to an erosion of trust on behalf of the community.
The full wording of the alleged “threat” needs to be published for the community to gauge the level of threat and intent enclosed within it, as failure to do so and prove direct threat of harm will only serve once again to undermine the credibility of those concerned. Questions also need to be asked as to, if this threat is worthy of the attention of micro ministers at Stormont, why the PSNI have not released any information regarding the source or any information about any investigatory process.
The reality is, in our opinion, that this threat is fabricated to in fact suit a PSNI normalisation agenda, which is supported by the Catholic Church as confirmed by Father Gary Donegan live on BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra on the night he received the "threat".
This again highlights the need for the full disclosure of information and transparency surrounding the activities of a number of organisations. These groups and individuals, particularly those working with the PSNI/RUC, MI5 and similar State agencies, need to explain, rationalize and justify their actions and activities to the whole community. They also need to explain how they see their actions being of benefit to our children and entire community, when the majority of the community view continuing human rights abuses by these State Agencies as unacceptable. Abuses on which clergy, paid workers and political parties have consistently remained silent since 2007 without fail.
For generations the people of Greater Ardoyne have suffered on a daily basis the worst discrimination, brutality, injustice and cruelty from the British State and Crown Forces. The people of this area have never been afforded the pleasure of being treated as equals. Never have we not had poverty, unemployment and deprivation. Never have we not had harassment, house raids, abuse and brutality. Never have we not suffered at the hands of a Sectarian hateful Police Force whose only ambition has been attempts to beat and cower us into submission when we demand equality and justice.
For many decades the institutions of the State, whether it be RUC, PSNI, MI5 or the judiciary, have time and again proven their bias and malice against us, and in some cases openly colluded with those who have brought slaughter and misery upon our community. It is for these reasons that our community has rejected the failed Six County Statelet and it's continually dysfunctional systems as unacceptable since partition.
In recent times we have again seen a surge in attempts by those who wish us to conform with their British system, institutions and their surrogates without question. The main proponent of this campaign is Sinn Fein, who are cynically using any avenue, organisation or means they can in an attempt to achieve their self ambitious political aims. In many cases local organisations are threatened with loss of funding and jobs should they not toe the line.
Sinn Fein’s electoral mandate in North Belfast was significantly down in the recent Stormont election, where they now only represent a minority of the total population here, and a even tinier minority of the Greater Ardoyne area. They are using phantom community groups, paid workers and the local clergy to prosecute their bogus and corrupt self-serving claims, and those who allow themselves to be used in this way are guilty of the heinous crime of abusing their position within our community.
There is no real or genuine support from the majority of residents in Greater Ardoyne for this unacceptable strategy that attempts to criminalise, victimise, demonise and brutalise activists, residents and their families. It should stop immediately, for the long term benefit of the entire community.
- Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective is a fully constituted Community Development Organisation, working to improve the lives of people in our community.