Glasgow bigotry tourism fears
Publication Date: 2017-04-13
Church condemns ‘Kill all Catholics’ graffiti on Glasgow’s Tradeston Bridge, which was left untouched for four days
Failure to deal with sectarian graffiti promptly is hurting Glasgow’s image with tourists, local leaders warned, after a large message saying ‘Kill all Catholics’ was left for four days on a busy footbridge over the Clyde.
Glasgow City Council has been criticised for failing to act faster to clean the graffiti (right) after the message was spray-painted in foot high letters on the Tradeston Bridge in central Glasgow last week. Despite city resident Joel Cooney raising the issue with the council clean-up team on social media last Friday morning, it was still there four days later.
Contacted by the SCO on Monday, a spokesperson for Glasgow council said the graffiti had not been flagged up through the correct channels but that it would be removed promptly. The spokesperson acknowledged that it was ‘not very welcoming’ to tourists and said that they made a priority of dealing with graffiti ‘of this nature.’ It was finally removed on Tuesday morning.
A spokesman for Glasgow Archdiocese said: “This graffiti shames Glasgow and is a reminder of an ugly subculture. It is imperative that it be removed as soon as possible.”
Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady urged the public to report sectarian incidents. “Sectarianism in any form should be called out and condemned—as should graffiti and vandalism,” he said. “While in some respects the Christian response to attacks and insults should be to ‘turn the other cheek,’ violent sectarian graffiti can be disturbing not just for Christians but the wider public,” he said.
“As well as continued support for anti-sectarian initiatives, local councils must be ready and able to respond to reports of damage to public property and take urgent action to repair it.”
A veteran of the city’s tourism industry, who declined to be named, told the SCO that incidents of this kind made it much harder to market the city as a tourist destination.
“I’ve been speaking to industry colleagues down south, and they are aghast at the idea of this; absolutely stunned,” he said. “It’s very difficult to get people to change their perception of Glasgow. People see Edinburgh as a much more aesthetic city but an awful lot of very hard work has gone into encouraging short break traffic to come here and something like this—people will see it and they just won’t come back.”
City councillor Gerry Boyle echoed the dismay. “For tourists to come into the city and see that is ridiculous,” he said. “It does affect tourism, people coming here from all around the world and seeing that sort of stuff. It’s especially frustrating, as so much progress has been made in changing the image of Glasgow.”
Dave Scott, of anti-sectarianism charity Nil By Mouth, said the incident shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.
“It is moronic, but this can be the work of one idiot running around with a spray can,” he said. “It’s a heinous example but is it helpful to draw attention to it? I think this is not where Scotland is. I would say that in cases where the graffiti has something hateful in it, local authorities need to respond and clean it up quickly.”
—This story ran in full in the April 14 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.