[Sinn Fein]

24th October 2001

Loyalist school blockade escalates in North Belfast

Ardoyne Sinn Fein Councillor Margaret McClenaghan has hit out at loyalists who have escalated the Holy Cross school protest by blockading a further three Catholic schools in North Belfast this afternoon.

Cllr. McClenaghan said:

``This afternoon loyalists blocked the Crumlin Road trapping parents and children from Mercy Primary School to return to Ardoyne. This blockade has also resulted in pupils from St. Gabriel's boys Secondary School and Our Lady of Mercy Girls Secondary School being unable to return home from school.

``Despite the best attempts to enter into negotiations, from parents and residents in Ardoyne to resolve the Holy Cross blockade loyalists have walked away and refused to talk. They have also, as was revealed last week, backtracked on agreements reached. It would now appear that loyalists are intent on upping the ante by blocking three more schools.

``This form of child abuse is unacceptable and must end.'' ENDS

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