EXCLUSIVE: ARMED police gave Catholic school pupils a guard this morning as they went to morning Mass.

Belfast Daily can reveal that two armoured PSNI Mitsubishi jeeps and up to a dozen cops kept watch over St Malachy’s pupils as they walked to a service close to Belfast City Centre.

The pupils were heading from their school on Belfast’s Antrim to St Patrick’s Chapel in Donegall Street for a feast day Mass for St Malachy.

Just after 10.30 am, the pupils, who were also acccompanied by teachers, walked to the flashpoint Carlisle Circus which had been the centre of trouble last month involving loyalist rioters.

An armoured PSNI Mitsubishi Shogun, with its blue lights flashing, accompanied the pupils on the half mile route from the school gates to the chapel.

A PSNI officer on foot patrol walked behind the last group of pupils heading to the 11 am service.

As they approached the lights at the junction of Clifton Street and Donegall Street, a second Mitsubishi Shogun was positioned across the road while a PSNI officer directed traffic to allow the pupils to cros the busy junction.

One local watching said: “That is the first time I have seen the police give the pupils a guard to the chapel for the St Malachy’s Feast Day.

“It just shows the tension that is in the air at the moment that pupils can’t walk to Mass without getting a police escort.”

However, a Protestant father-of-three described the police gun guard for the pupils as a “waste of resources”.

“Why did St Malachy’s pupils need an escort today? Where was the threat?

“And who sanctioned this because it appears to me to be pathetic and a waste of resources.

“My son can’t even get a bus safely to school. This is an absolute scandal,” he added.

Tensions have been high in the flashpoint area since the summer when the Shankill Road-based Young Conway Volunteers walked round in circles outside St Patrick’s Chapel playing loyalist tunes.

It provoked outrage from parishoners and residents and led to a formal apology from the Royal Black Perceptory to parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan about the band’s behaviour.

On Sunday, October 28, a further heavy police presence is expected as the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland goes on parade to celebrate the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Forty loyalist bands and around 400 Orangemen will walk from Florence Place, down Clifton Street and into Donegall Street past the Catholic Church at around 2pm.

However, in the light of previous trouble, the Parades Commission has imposed a number of restrictions on marchers on the outward and homeward journeys.

They include:

* a single drum beat (or no music) from the Westlink to 18 Clifton Street;

* only sacred (hymn music) to be played from the junction of 18 Clifton Street to the junction of Donegall Street and Union Street;

* no supporters from the Westlink to Clifton Street and the same from Donegall Street to Royal Avenue.

A counter demonstration by up to 100 members of the Carrickhill Concerned Residents Group (CCRG) will take place on both the outward and return journeys of the Orange Order parade.

The Parades Commission, who have imposed restrictions on the CCRG, said it was “disappointed” that no talks took place between the Orange Order and the residents group before it made its determination.



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  1. Nick James says:

    Why was this done and for what reason This is a pathetic waste of tax payers money to protect who? Is this another way of saying poor catholic down trodden people cant go to their place of worship? Who was threatening them. My son cant even get a bus from The boys model school because of attacks from republican elements and the psni refuse to sit there for 10 minutes to get them free passage. Come on Mr Clark Dustrict commander A District get your finger out of the Shiinners asses. Your gutless wee boys that call themselves police officers would prefer to try to kill my lad with a landrover and rape a girl in oldpark station whilst on duty

    • Proud prod says:

      That is absolutely sickening, I hope this is pursued and investigated and those responsibly brought to Justice,

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      Im sorry to hear about your son and i hope it is being investigated fully, i read further on down they lost a bloody helicopter whats going on with this police force, i think you where right saying Farce its absolutely staggering what i have read on here today.

  2. sam mccrory says:

    The questions that i need answered regarding this story are. Why did this have to take place? Who if anyone said that it had to be done because of a perceived threat? Was an 11/1 form filled in for this parade? If not, why? What is the difference between these pupils and Protestant pupils when they are travelling from one point to another?

  3. Ally Hamilton says:

    What in god’s name is going on in this country. I’m sure this isn’t the first time that this school has walked down the road to go to this mass, so why all of a sudden do they need protection. Personally I think this is a ploy by the nationalist community to increase tension in the area to stop anything Protestant and Orange walking down that particular part of the road. Why does it take the PSNI 3 hours to answer a 999 call in the Westlands and suddenly produce all these resources when there is no threat at all.

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      Off course it is, too justify themselves when they start to abuse the Protestants on Sunday at the Church service, peoplew ill see it as well if they try and attack our school children we will retaliate on sunday WAKE UP people, there was no threat against these children, A total waste of my taxes on a mis-use of resources by the PSNI, who ordered this action is there anyone going to address these issues and reply

  4. jamie says:

    were is the evidence that any of these children was going to be attacked looks like republican propaganda

    • Ally Hamilton says:

      No evidence at all Jamie. Matt Baggot needs to come out and give us all an honest answer as to why they need an armed guard.

  5. Sharon McMullan says:

    Armed guards to take school children to mass. On what grounds ?? A blatant mis-use of tax payer’s money and PSNI resource’s, attack frrom whom ?? Our perhap’s a raising of tension’s in the area ahead of a CHURCH parade on Sunday. Will the PSNI be there to give safe passage to british citizen’s walking the Queen’s Highway playing Hymn’s or will they yet again discrinate againt the Protestant people who if they come under attack, will no doubt be seen as the aggressor’s, this is a british country and as such British Citizen’s should be able to uphold there culture and faith with a constant persecution from the parades committee, As for the CCRG Who are these people and where do they reside ???

    • Ally Hamilton says:

      Why now Sharon. This has never happened before. I think Matt Baggot needs to answer some serious questions.

      • Sharon McMullan says:

        Alison i don’t know if you live near there, but like you say Why now, this has never had to happen before, I have never heard anything like this before what next, 1 of the children wants a Mars Bar and needs an armoured escort,

        • Ally Hamilton says:

          Sharon I don’t live that far away from it and any time that I see these kids waiting on buses home they have NEVER been harassed. Would be interest to see police figures to prove me right.

  6. margaret mitchell says:

    why was this done??????propaganda .the girls model pupils boys model pupils are attacked on a daily bais no police protection is this because they are protestant . who ever reported this i live near our lady of mercy catholic school theese girls never get touch they walked through loyalist areas to get to there . we cant forget curry primary school. springfeild primary.why does the police chiefs turn a blind eye ??????.

    • Ally Hamilton says:

      Pure propaganda Margaret. Church parade on Sunday then all of a sudden their kids need protecting going to a service that they’ll done for years with never any problems.

  7. margaret mitchell says:


  8. jamie 2 says:

    i wonder if this is the same parents that was sending there children out to riot at clifton st orange hall were they wanted loyalist to attack there own children all for there republican cause well im glad to say that use failed. now use are saying better get the psni to walk us down the road it will make the loyalist look bad. well some brainwashed ppl will think that but more and more ppl from both sides of the divide are fed up with sf stirring the pot

  9. colin watson says:

    why did this even happened this is a waste of money has the school for some reason or another suddenly became threatened by our community in my opinion the only ones who have alienated them is they’re community in trying to dig up the past and to reignite a blood thristy war with us which no one wants,but besides that who authorised this to happen and for what reason i would like someone to tell me why these pupils needed an escort from they’re school to the chapel which they do every year i’m led to believe and who is trying to stoke up tension between the two communities yet again.

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      Exactly Colin why did it happen ?? They have put it across like there was some sort of attack eminient on these children, Armed Guards it is totally disgraceful how the money is being wasted. And as a Tax Payer i a for one am not happy at the abuse of my taxes

  10. ken boyle says:

    why has been aloud to happen were is the evidence of threats or intimadation they have not had an escort before why now this is just another republican propaganda why does the protestant community not get offered a police escort to go till our churches, instead we get restrictions slapped on us for celebrating our culture all you here is oh the poor catholic community they had this done ad tat done this said and tat said us protestants are sick of being discriminated against waste of tax payers money on escorts wen its only a one wat traffic

  11. margargaret mitchell says:

    i cant understand this escort as im up and down this road and the boys from st malachy are always walking about without any worry wonder who is trying to cause tension.

  12. Proud prod says:

    I have never heard such utter rubbish in all my life, yet another republican propaganda campaign against the protestant people, who no longer will allow you to manipulate things to achieve what you think is rightfully yours a United Ireland, A Ireland United will never exist the Ulster people will not allow such intolerance and have suffered too long, Peace Process what a mockery peace at what price ?? the cost to the Protestant people’s cultural hertiage and British Citizenship. The power is back in the hands of the grass roots protestants who neither seek paid or bribed to stand up and be counted. We are British Subjects living in a British Country within the United Kingdom we will NEVER surrender to the people who murdered and butchered our people, A church parade takes place this Sunday as rightful Citizen’s of this great nation of Ulster let’s see what protection is afforded to us, But i already know the answer to that NONE, Keep watching people and judge for yourselves on Sunday what the outcome is we aren’t the aggressor’s !! We are the very people that will stand and be counted UNITED WE STAND !!

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      Well said, too long the people have stood back and watched while our very culture and hertiage was sold for 30 pieces of silver, you can’t buy us all, And most you would never be able too buy, there isn’t enough money to buy the loyalty shown by the Ulster people to the Ulster People. Enjoy your money you sold us out for, but remember you can’t take it with you, I prefer to leave behind a Good Name !! Than a bank account full of blood money

    • billy worthington says:

      who on earth sanctioned this? is it another attempt by sinn fein/psni to show the loyalist people in bad light, such a total waste of police resources, i hope the chief constable can answer where he got his intelligence from

      • Ally Hamilton says:

        Billy of course this is to put Unionists and Loyalists in a bad light. Nowhere in the archives will there be a story of those boys getting intimidated going to this service.

  13. Ally Hamilton says:

    To be honest with everyone I think this is to stir up tension in the area before the Orange Order church parade on Sunday. These kids have NEVER needed police protection before. The PSNI need to prioritise their resources i.e. protect the people of Cluan Place, Thistle Court and the Westlands to name but a few Protestant areas which come under attack daily. Lady of Mercy school on the Bilston Road, Ballysillan are able to walk freely round this Protestant area, past Wheatfield Est and down the Protestant end of the Ardoyne road without intimidation just like St Malachys can around the Clifton St area after school to get their buses home. So Matt Baggot needs to answer the question, why protect them now when it’s never been an issue before, was there a legitimate threat? I THINK NOT.

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      Well i wish Matt Baggot would answer that Ally Hanilton as i for 1 am a bit confused as to how come they can do this an say it is Justified ??

    • Proud prod says:

      Ally what they may only do is highlight the situation so maybe that’s there intent cause tempers to flare maybe they are doing this to justify perhaps why there is 100 supporters from the CCRG when there is no residents there, soo by infaming the situation by way of an armed escort today for an non-existant threat, But come what may people will see that there was never a threat against these children fabricated lie’s no doubt by the republican proganda machine

  14. billy worthington says:

    once again a chance to show the loyalist people in a bad light, no threats have been made towards these children yet valuable police resources have been wasted

  15. Nick James says:

    As a former police officer RUC GC the real police service of northern ireland it comes as no surprise that the psni are paying lip service to the republican movement. This decision obviously came from headquarters from mr baggot himself. An englishman who could do better in his school work. What a plonker Had a helicopter 3 months and lost it. This is not a force its a Farce. Get real baggott the loyalist people have had their fill of your 3rd world policing service. sorry did i say service i meant disservice

    • Ally Hamilton says:

      Police Serving Nationalists Interests.

    • Proud prod says:

      AT least with the RUC we respected them, how can we asked to respect PSNI when they themselves don’t respect both communities. Is it only me or has anyone else felt that they have little or no training or man management skills.

      • Sharon McMullan says:

        Im still in shock over the helicopter proud prod !! They dont appear to have any skills from what i can gather, And if you have a helicopter please don’t entrust it to Matt baggot seems he has habit of losing them, Im flabbergasted !!

    • Sharon McMullan says:

      what you mean he had a helicopter 3 month’s month’s and lost it, that’s more of my Taxes no doubt down the swannee, the more i hear of this the more im thinking Mr Blobby would be better entrusted with my money, for god sake people what’s happening here, Where’s this Helicopter now. I could see over it if it was an ear-ring or even a lost a hand-bad but a HELICOPTER ???????

  16. julie says:

    No need what so ever for these actions, just trying to raise tensions, regarding a Church parade on, total disgrace and waste of resources, the tax payers money being wasted yet again

    • Ally Hamilton says:

      The PSNI are complaining about how much it costs to police a parade and what the riots at Ardoyne cost and how hospitals and schools could be using that money. Well why use resources that you don’t need to for something that this school has been doing for years without any annoyance. Wise up Chief Constable and use your budget wisely.

  17. the price of peace says:

    is this the price we have to pay. we are not allowed to parade to our churches we are not allowed to march past a chapel we are not allowed to celebrate our culture and everything british must go were is the respect and shared space that is all the protestant people want. from what i see sf/ira have got a new arm to there war machine the PSNI

  18. Victoria Park says:

    I am totally disgusted that the Chief Constable allowed money from his budget to fund these unnecessary resources. Would he not be better protecting the Protestant people that are living on peace lines who are constantly getting intimidated by nationalist violence. Wake up and start serving all the people of the country not just nationalists and bowing down to sinn fein/ira.

  19. Rose Houston says:

    This is another stunt that Sinn Fein have pulled by exploiting innocent children, there clearly was no threat whatsoever and the tragic thing is they have created another generation of Protestant haters who will detest anything associated with the culture.

  20. Hawk eye says:

    What threat where these children under, its a wee dander from their school to St Patrick’s and they needed 2 mitzibushi armour plated Jeeps and an armed Guard, are you all having a laugh here. Certainly sounds like the republican Propaganda machine in overdrive ahead of the CHURCH yes CHURCH parade on Sunday absolutely ridiculous that tax payer’s money be used in this way. Who in there right minds would make such a judgement, This kids from St malachy@s have never had anything like this before so why 2 days before a parade in Clifton St are the PSNI trying to imflame and raise tensions in the area. Why would there be an objection to Hymns ?? The parades commission are way off course here and taking this too far, restriction’s are placed on the movements of Protestants yet not on illegal republican parades

  21. ken boyle says:

    its good to see alot of comments on this issue it is seriously taking the biscuit now be interesting were the evidence is for this to take place protestants tat live in infertafce areas does tat mean since we r getting discriminated against and come under attack every way possible wud get awared an escort does it all so mean tat r children can get psni escort to school,out with there mates wud the psni give us an escort past carrick hill or donegall street i dont think so

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