Crisis school to reopen

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The Independent Online

Holy Cross school in north Belfast, centre of last night's violent disturbances, is expected to reopen tomorrow.

It was closed today, but the chairman of the school board of governors will recommend that the school reopens.

Father Aidan Troy said that following meetings with police and security minister Jane Kennedy, he will suggest to parents that it is safe to bring their children to school.

"I'm on my way to a meeting with parents and then with the governors. The direction we are moving in is to try to reopen tomorrow."

Father Troy said the mood in the nationalist community of Ardoyne was extremely angry, especially after another attacks today on a Catholic girls' secondary school in the nearby Ballysillan area.

Around 17 cars were smashed at the school in the Protestant area as a gang of armed men entered the car park.Anxious parents took their children away from the school, many vowing to keep them at home tomorrow.

"Whenever you see what happened at Ballysillan today, the community is feeling extremely vulnerable."

Meanwhile security minister Ms Kennedy called on anyone with influence in both communities to join in condemning without qualification the violence that had taken place.

"This violence is having a corrosive effect on both communities.

"There's been a tremendous amount of very good work done over the last year to resolve problems and this is at risk."

The minister, who was going to a meeting with the Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan to discuss the deepening crisis, said police would take all steps necessary to maintain public order in the area.

She rejected criticism that security measures that had been agreed for the Protestant Glenbryn area were not being implemented.

"I will be meeting with assembly members later this afternoon. The package of measures we agreed is being worked through, but it involves a number of agencies and we can't deliver these improvements overnight."