02 December 2005

Fr Troy launches book on Holy Cross dispute


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Click thumbnail for full view - Belfast mural depicting Holy Cross - photo by CRAZYFENIAN

North Belfast priest Fr Aidan Troy, who helped children and their parents through the Holy Cross protest, is to publish his memories of the troubled times which made headlines across the world.
Fr Troy’s book, entitled Holy Cross: A Personal Experience, is to be released next week at a special launch in Holy Cross hall.

Little girls going to lessons at Holy Cross primary were subjected to sectarian abuse and violence from loyalist protesters over a 12-week period in 2001.

During the blockade they taunted the children, their parents, teachers and priests, as well as displaying pornographic posters, throwing balloons containing urine and even bombs.

The scenes of naked sectarianism horrified television viewers around the world.

Fr Troy had only arrived in Ardoyne a few months before the protest began and, despite being in place only a few months, he became a central figure in one of the most disturbing incidents in the North’s recent history.

He said he didn’t find the book hard to write, as the memories were still fresh in his mind.

“I didn’t find it hard to write it at all. This was something I had lived with for so long, it was almost part of a therapy to gather it all together,” he said.

“I didn’t keep a diary during the protest. But I had always kept letters that were sent to me about it, and I kept those, whether they were positive or negative. I answered as many as I could at the time because someone had felt it important enough to write their feelings down. I had a lot of interest and observation from people across the world and that provided an interesting insight four years later into what people were actually saying at the time.

“They all helped me to do some sort of assessment of what happened and what it meant to me.”
The protest was also the focus of another book, published last year by Daily Ireland columnist Anne Cadwallader.

Fr Troy is a Passionist priest originally from Bray, in Co Wicklow. He was ordained in the wake of Vatican II, and was elected to the general government of his order in 1994, a post he held until his transfer to Holy Cross parish in 2001.

The book is launched next Thursday at 7.45pm after Mass in Holy Cross. Everyone is invited to attend.
Proceeds will be channelled into the development of a cross-community family centre in the parish grounds.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

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