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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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Community Voices - Jim Potts is a Protestant Community Worker with Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne Jim Potts

Do you condemn the action of those loyalist demonstrators or do you have any sympathy for it?

No, I don't condemn them. You have to realise that I believe and my community believe that Mr Flanagan made the wrong decision here today, in that he used very heavy-handed tactics, that pensioners, women and young children were beaten by the police on the Ardoyne Road this morning.

The police clearly will answer for their own actions in due course, but it does not take away the fact that there were children trying to go to school this morning who were terrified and felt terrorised, no matter what the police did or didn't do. The protestors should not have been scaring those people and indeed, one wonders whether there was any need for them to be there in the first place.

Well I recognise that, so you have to ask the question 'Are these parents of their right minds to bring their children into this?' Or should they not have used the alternative safe route via the Crumlin Road?

Well, I suppose they would simply say why should they have to do that? There is no excuse for anybody attacking children on their way to school. This is the road that they have always used when they have been going to school, and indeed they feel apparently forced into using an alternative route perhaps, from tomorrow, because they are scared that someone could be seriously injured or indeed killed if this thing continues.

Well, what about the attacks to our community? What about the murder of Trevor Kells last December in Hesketh?

One wonders what that has got to do with four-year-old children trying to go to school.

Well I'll tell you exactly what it's got to do with children going to school - nothing. It's the parents that we have the problem with, not the children. The parents have been leading an ongoing attack on this community over the last eleven months, and when they stop attacking this community, we'll think about letting them back up the Ardoyne Road And let's be honest about it, this is a loyalist community. What was the school ever built there for in the first place? Would we be allowed to have a school built in Ardoyne? No, I don't think so.

We're talking about ancient history there, aren't we? The fact is that the school is there and the children want to go to school.

Well, what the British Government need to do is build a new school in Ardoyne and that'll keep everybody happy.

So they should close the school and the people should stop using Holy Cross? That's the simplest solution is it?

If they close the school, Wheatfield will take it 'cos Wheatfield's badly run down at the minute, so we'll take it.

Well, people have already raised the issues of the West Bank and South Africa here. I mean, is total apartheid the answer? Is that what north Belfast is heading towards?

There's an onslaught against my community: their homes are being attacked, their property is being attacked, and people are being murdered within my community. That's the reality of it.

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