20 November 1997 Edition

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Springfield residents form action group

Residents of the Springfield Road in Belfast are set to oppose unwanted Orange marches that go through their predominatly nationalist neighbourhood each year.

The Springfield Road Action Group say they oppose the annual invasion of their local neighbourhood by Orange marchers accompanied by the attendent curfew enforced by the RUC and British Army. This comes after a survey found that 98% of residents felt intimidated by the march and the swamping of the area by Crown Forces. The survey which covered 1230 households overwhelmingly called for a re-routing of the Orange marches.

Spokesperson for the Action Group, Frances McAuley said no response had yet been recieved from the two letters they had sent to the Orange Lodge to initiate dialogue. She told An Phoblacht that the demographics of the area had changed and alternative routes could easily avoid disturbing nationalists.

The marches occur on the last Saturday in June and twice on the Twelfth of July. Last year saw the senseless beating of Kevin Docherty in his own home by the RUC. In 1995 peaceful demonstrators involved in a sit-down protest were indescrininately beaten off the road.

In asking for support McAuley pointed out that this is the only Orange march in West Belfast. The Springfield Residents Action Group will be holding a Grand Charity Night on Friday 21 November at the Felons Club. Gerard Rice from the Lower Ormeau Road and Joe Duffy from the Garvaghy Road will speak.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1