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1 August 2002 Edition

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Ardoyne Fleadh bigger and better

Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil Saturday 3 August - Sunday 11 August

The organisers of this year's Ardoyne Fleadh have called on people from throughout Belfast and further afield to support this year's ambitious programme of events, despite the ongoing loyalist campaign against the area.

This year's Fleadh programme was launched in the Ardoyne Kickham's GAC on Tuesday 22 July. Fleadh Committee chair Gerard McGuigan said that following the turmoil in the area over the past year the Fleadh committee had put strenuous efforts into making this year's Fleadh one of the most successful. "We are celebrating the best our community has to offer," he said, and anyone who has been to Belfast's most hardcore summer festival knows what he means.

Due to the trouble that engulfed Ardoyne after loyalists attacked children and their parents going to Holy Cross school last year, some events had to be cancelled. This year, however, the Fleadh Committee has come back with a programme packed with major events, including open air concerts featuring the Hot House Flowers, the Wolfe Tones (three quarters of them, anyway), the Céilí Bandits, and London-Irish psycho-céilidh band Neck.

The theme of this year's Fleadh is Women of Ireland and writing in the Fleadh programme, Gerard McGuigan acknowledged that "the women of Ardoyne, the Bone and neighbouring districts have always been pillars of the community, indeed the women of the district were involved in 'community development' before anyone knew what the term meant.

"On news channels throughout the world, people have seen the courage of the mother's and women of Ardoyne in ensuring their children's education, shielding young girls from curses, stones and abuse day after day - holding firm in the face inconceivable hatred."

The guest speaker at the launch was Belfast Mayoress Liz Maskey, who acknowledged the importance of the Fleadh to community life in the area.

"There is a need for something positive and I am hopeful that this is a positive thing in the midst of all the grimness and tragedy," said Maskey.

The opening parade of the Ardoyne Fleadh will take place on Sunday 4 August at 11am on the Berwick Road.

For further information about the Ardoyne Fleadh and its events contact Ardoyne Fleadh Ceoil on Belfast 90751056.


New book documents Ardoyne deaths

A commemoration project in Ardoyne in North Belfast is to launch a book commemorating those from the area who died in the course of the conflict in the Six Counties. The book, titled Ardoyne - The Untold Truth, contains tells of the lives and deaths of some 99 people from the area who were killed since 1969.

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds will speak at the launch, which takes place in the Ardoyne Kickhams GAC, Flax Street, at 8pm on Thursday August 15 August. Also attending will be filmmaker Jimmy McGovern and Seamus Deane.

The launch date marks the 33rd anniversary of the political killings of Sammy McLarnon and Michael Lynch, both killed by the RUC in 1969.

Spokesperson Tom Holland says the Ardoyne Commemoration Project (ACP) is community based and community led. "It began four years ago after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, when the 'victims' issue was being used as a political football, particularly by anti-Agreement unionists in order to prevent and slow down the process of change that was gradually emerging," he said. "It was designed to widen the victims debate, respond to the misrepresentations being made allegedly on the victims behalf and also to commemorate all the victims in the Ardoyne area by interviewing their family members, a loved one or friends and eyewitnesses to their killings. This process formed the basis of the book."

Numerous issues were raised, said Holland, covering not only the killings themselves but also the mistreatment of the remains and of the families by the various agencies; RUC, British Army, media, Church and courts. "This book creates the space to allow the general Ardoyne community to set the record straight," said Holland.

The ACP say some of their statistical findings were remarkable, if not totally surprising. Of 26 members of the Ardoyne community killed by British State forces, not one single person was arrested, charged or convicted.

Fifty members of the Ardoyne community were killed by loyalists, and British State collusion was a major factor in many of these deaths.

Nine members of the Ardoyne community were killed by the IRA, five of these as a result of accidents during military operations, while seven people were Volunteers in the IRA or Na Fianna hÉireann who died as a result of accidents while on active service.

Three people were killed by the various factions of the INLA, one was killed by the Official IRA and three were killed in disputed circumstances in which the identity of the organisation responsible is unknown.



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