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.