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26/11/2001

Loyalist protest at Holy Cross ends

Catholic children have walked to the Holy Cross primary school in north Belfast without running the gauntlet of loyalist protestors for the first time in three months.

Residents in the Glenbryn estate called off their blockade after a weekend of talks with local politicians and the First and Deputy First Minister. The meetings produced a package of security measures, which was then agreed by both the residents and parents.

However, police maintained a large security presence along the school route on Monday November 26.

Speaking on Monday, Jim Potts, spokesman for the loyalist residents of Glenbryn, said they felt the protest was worthwhile. He added: “The community are very hopeful that the package delivered will go a long way to meeting their needs.”

The SDLP assembly member for the area, Alban Maginness, praised the police for the way they handled the dispute.

"The policing of this situation has been, I believe, good. The police have played a very important role here in preserving order in allowing safe and free access for the children and parents. This is a success story for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin assembly member Gerry Kelly also welcomed the news but added: “It is now incumbent upon all of us to ensure that there is never a repeat of the scenes witnessed daily on the Ardoyne Road since early September.”

Stormont’s political leaders will finalise the details of the package, but concerns have been raised that the blockade has yet to be declared over for good. (AMcE)

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