BY Ian Dunn | May 9 | comments icon 7 COMMENTS     print icon print


Is Glasgow planning a u-turn on Orange walks?

Leader of Glasgow City Council told Orange Order members during election campaign that council policy to reduce number of parades was flawed

The leader of Glasgow City Council has told the Orange Order his city’s policy on actively reducing its numbers of parades was ‘wrong’ and that it will be revised now Labour is back in power.

Prior to the recent local council election , Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, told a hustings of Orange Order members that he would ‘hold his hands up’ and admit a groundbreaking approach to reducing marches in the city was flawed.

Councillor Matheson, whose Labour administration was returned last Friday with an large majority, said the city council should have done more to consult the Orange Order and he promised a senior councillor would oversee a review.

Members of the Catholic community in Glasgow have expressed concern that the large number of Orange Order Marches in the city encourages and promotes sectarian behaviour. Mgr Peter Smith, the former chancellor of Glasgow Archdiocese, describing the attitude of many marchers towards Catholics as ‘appalling.’

Glasgow City Council has repeatedly hailed its revised approach to parades as a success, with almost all disputes with march organisers resolved before events. Introduced 18 months ago, the policy was aimed at reducing marches through the city centre and restricting start and finish times amid concerns over the impact on public resources, businesses and communities.

Although a council spokesman claims that ‘Mr Matheson committed to no more than is stated in the policy— that there will be an annual review, which is under way,’ Robert McLean, executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said the organisation was delighted at news of a council policy rethink on the matter.

“Mr Matheson admitted the policy was wrong and we’re now hoping he will review the parades policy,” he said. “We do not tell our members who to vote for but as a unionist organisation they should be supporting a unionist candidate.”

Recent figures show more Orange marches are held in Scotland each year than in Northern Ireland.


Comments - 7 Responses

  1. megz says:

    This is clearly Labour desperate to cling to power and have turned to the orange order to ensure it happened. Up and down the country labour also have thrown their morals and principles (assuming they had any) out of the window and have crawled into bed with the tories in several areas. Absolutely disgraceful!

  2. David says:

    I actually thought the last walk was far less disruptive by far than previous years! That said, with the ‘followers’ it was very much business as usual with drunkenness and shocking anti-Catholic songs and abuse.

    But my issue is with the leader of the city council and labour in Glasgow if they change this ruling! There is no shortage of labour MP’s and MSP’s appearing in the SCO frequently described as a ‘leading Catholic’.

    What message is Mr Matheson giving to the Catholic community, or any of the citizens of this city, with this? More sinister, there was no mention of re-instating orange walks as part of the now famous 100 promises? Was there a deal done to secure a vote….for the party that historically goes out of its way to court the ‘Catholic vote’?

    Maybe the SCO can call an interview with Mr Matheson or one of the many new Catholic city councillors and get their views? While you are at it ask their view on same sex marriage…..they all kept very quite on their support of that!

    It appears to me the ‘Catholic vote’ is ‘in the bag’ and labour are showing just how much they take it for granted.

  3. Sarsfield says:

    Maybe Gordon will meet with the BNP and SDL to discuss how he can facilitate their racist marches in Glasgow

  4. F Walsh says:

    Its the secrecy of all this thats annoying.
    As a unionist organisation the Labour party is quite entitled to get involved with other unionist organisations,they both have a common enemy in the SNP.
    However it goes beyond the pale to jump into bed with the orange order and then go and court the Catholic vote.
    This is the very same Labour party who arranged for a group of Celtic supporters, who felt that the Scottish governments anti sectarian policies were going to far,to get into the Scottish parliament and protest against the SNP.
    They have no shame and no doubt at the next election will once again smear their opponents while dealing behind the scenes with bigots.

  5. Eileen McBride says:

    Even quite a long procession – and most Orange Walks are much shorter than they used to be – will pass a given point in less than 5 minutes. Can’t Catholics be big enough to grin and bear it – or ignore it – for that brief time?

  6. Nay Labour says:

    Eileen – Catholics have been bearing it for a very long time now – but I don’t see much grinning! I think we all accept the right to march if thats what folk want to do, for whatever reason. However, I do think the orange marches were getting out of hand and limiting them with, I understand, the agreement of the Orange Order was a step forward.

    It’s the both the secrecy and hypocrisy of New Labour who go out or their way to court the Catholic vote that is most unacceptable.

    I am surprise you see this issue a 5 minute one!

  7. Yvonne Keegan says:

    There always seems to be bad press about the Orange Order. What people don’t get to hear is the vast amount of money their members raise for numerous Charity’s. Their members have a policy too of tolerating other Religions.

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