BY Amanda Connelly | November 10 2017 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

1- xcatholics

People deface Glasgow as sectarian graffiti soars

SCO uncovers huge increase in number of bigoted scrawls last year

The city of Glasgow has seen a shocking leap in the number of incidents of sectarian graffiti during 2016, a figure which is on course to be even higher this year.

According to data obtained by the Scottish Catholic Observer from Glasgow City Council through a Freedom of Information request, there was a staggering rise in reported incidents of sectarian graffiti last year. The council was asked to clean up 83 incidents of bigoted scrawls in 2015 and 188 counts in 2016.

Since the start of this year to the end of March there have been 56 sectarian graffiti incidents, indicative of even greater 2017 figures.

Some of the graffiti was of an alarming nature and even targeted schools, with one Catholic primary in the east of Glasgow reporting graffiti all over the school last year, which meant children were unable to be in the playground due to its sectarian and vulgar nature.

Other graffiti surrounded the Celtic and Rangers football rivalry on both sides, with derogatory comments made about the Pope and Catholics.

Anti-Catholic graffiti used earlier this year saw distressing phrases such as ‘Kill all taigs’, a derogatory term used to refer to Irish Catholics, written on public property.

The director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office Peter Kearney said the spike seemed to be part of a wider trend.

“Religious intolerance, whether verbal or visual is always unacceptable,” he said. “Recent Religious Hate Crime statistics showed that although Catholics account for just 16 per cent of the population, 57 per cent of all such crime targets Catholics or Catholicism. It appears that graffiti in our largest city seems to mirror this saddening disparity.”

“This seems to be a further example of the failure of both national and local anti-sectarianism strategies to achieve results,” he went on. “It is difficult to see an alternative to a substantial reform of policy in this area.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said ‘This type of anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated. We aim to remove sectarian graffiti within two days of it being reported although the majority will be removed within that timescale’.

Danny Boyle, the parliamentary officer for BEMIS, a charity that works with Scotland’s ethnic and cultural majorities said the apparent increase was ‘concerning’ and more data about the nature of such incidents was urgently needed.

“The Scottish Government and local authorities must move beyond the generic ‘sectarianism’ concept which has become like chewing gum, attached to anything people disagree with, and identify hate crime in any manifestation.” he said. “This requires them to dismantle this concept and refer to anti-Catholicism, anti-Irish racism or anti-Protestantism where it occurs, as they do with Islamophobic or anti-Semitic incidents.”

 

– Additional reporting by Ryan McDougall

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