GARC public meeting in Crumlin Star Social Club
You may not be familiar with the name Dee Fennell but he is one of the leaders of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), which opposes loyal order parades on the Crumlin Road and which organised its own march on the Crumlin Road last night.
This morning he was on the Nolan Show and he was utterly unbelievable. Indeed he is the sort of person who should be on the media more often becuase he exposed the naked bigotry and sectarianism of dissident republicans better than any critic or commentator. The hatred simply oozed out of every word he spoke.
Fennell described himself as a republican and when he was challenged by Nolan about being a dissident republican he questioned the term and said he was just a republican. However he is what is commonly known as a dissident republican and dissident republicans such as Fennell and Martin Meehan are at the heart of the GARC organisation.
He then said that he couldn't be sectarian because he was a republican but his whole stance was based on sectarianism. He is one of those Irish nationalists who believe that they have been the victims of 50, 500 or even 1,000 years of 'British oppression' and therefore they themselves cannot possibly be sectarian.
Fennell saw no contradiction between that and saying that the Crumlin Road is 'our road'. Who is he referring to when he says 'our'? He means that the road belongs to the Roman Catholic section of Greater Ardoyne - nationalist and republican. Fennell believes that because some nationalists live near the Crumlin Road, it has become their property. This is the language of sectarianism and also the language of apartheid.
He ignores the fact that on the contested section of the road there is an ambulance station, which serves both communities, a library which is intended to be accessible to everyone, a car wash where the owners do not as whether the car-owner is a Protestant or a Roman Catholic, and the Everton Centre, which is also used by people from right across the community. The shops on the Crumlin Road also serve both communities as does the New Life counselling service. Does Fennell believe that these facilities are for one community only? Perhaps then Dee Fennell can tell us what it is that makes this section of the Crumlin Road the property and preserve of one community only?