Holy Cross disputes: Documentary on vicious sectarian abuse of Catholic schoolchildren to air on Irish TV
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Holy Cross disputes: Documentary on vicious sectarian abuse of Catholic schoolchildren to air on Irish TV

A DOCUMENTARY detailing one of the most vicious episodes of the Northern Ireland Troubles is set to air on Irish TV tonight.

In the year 2001, three years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed which aimed to put an end to violent sectarianism in the six northern counties, a group of schoolchildren were regularly abused, harassed  and even attacked each morning on their way to school.

In Ardoyne, North Belfast, primary school students in the girls' Catholic Holy Cross school were subjected to these attacks for weeks as they were forced to walk through a mainly Protestant area to reach the school gates.

Parents comfort their daughters in the aftermath of a blast bomb attack on police September 5, 2001 in North Belfast. The bomb was thrown at police officers protecting the pupils on their way to classes at the Holy Cross Primary School. (Photo by Hugh Thomas/BWP Media/Getty Images)
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Loyalists blocked the entrance to the school and threw stones at those trying to enter, and as the weeks went on, the protests grew in aggression, and the RUC were called in to protect the children on their walk through residential areas.

A priest escorts a Catholic schoolchild along The Ardoyne Road to Holy Cross Primary school in Belfast 06 September 2001. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

In September 2001, a pipe bomb was thrown at police and the little girls were caught in the explosion, an act which caused outrage across the island of Ireland and far beyond.

Parents comfort their daughters in the aftermath of a blast bomb attack on police September 5, 2001 in North Belfast. The bomb was thrown at police officers protecting the pupils on their way to classes at the Holy Cross Primary School. Photo by Hugh Thomas/BWP Media/Getty Images)

Images of their tear-streaked faces became one of the immortalised, chilling moments from the unrest in Northern Ireland, and a new RTÉ documentary set to air tonight will explore the 'Holy Cross disputes' further.

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 Tears stream down the face of a young girl caught up in the midst of a blast bomb attack on police September 5, 2001 in North Belfast. The bomb was thrown at police officers protecting the pupils on their way to classes at the Holy Cross Primary School. (Photo by Hugh Thomas/BWP Media/Getty Images)

You can check out Scannal: Holy Cross- Children in the Crossfire on RTÉ One tonight at 7pm, or for those not at home, you can watch it on the RTÉ Player.

To read more about the Holy Cross disputes and the wide-ranging effect it had on the Ardoyne area and Northern Ireland as a whole, you can do so here.