BY Peter Diamond | February 23 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Tackle anti-Catholicism, Church urges after loyalist abuse video

The Catholic Church has called on Police Scotland and local authorities to make tackling anti-Catholicism a priority after loyalist bullies were caught on camera threatening Glasgow college students and laughing about ‘shooting Tims and papists.’

Members of Partick’s Apprentice Boys of Derry were filmed making the remarks by journalism students, who were invited to attend Crawford Hall, Partick (right) after photographing a march earlier in the day.

However, the students who filmed the sectarian slur on Saturday, January 27, this week exposed the group to The Sun newspaper, revealing that they ended up filming a member of the group referring to ‘shooting Catholics’ during a memorial service for a deceased colleague.

During the speech the man recalled a conversation with the deceased man.

He said: “On nights out he would tell us he would be taking BBs at the church and would have rifle practice.

“The minister used to tell him ‘you’ll need to practice because you’ll be shooting papists soon… to shoot all they Tims and that.’”

The students say they were then surrounded by the men after the speakers realised they had been filmed and they were then ordered to delete the footage.

The students also said they were then prevented from leaving the building for half an hour before they called police who stayed on the line with them until they were safely outside.

One of the female students, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It wasn’t until I left that I realised it was a dangerous situation so I was really glad to get out of there. It was quite scary.”

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said: “The violent and threatening language in this video reflects an extremely disturbing and hateful attitude towards Catholics. It is indicative of an insidious anti-Catholic intolerance and discrimination which is regrettable but sadly not rare: over half—57 per cent—of all religious hate crime targeted Catholics or Catholicism according to the most recent Scottish Government statistics.

“Catholics make up 27 per cent of the population in Glasgow. Their rights and freedoms to live without fear or prejudice must be fully respected.

“Local government and Police Scotland should commit to making this a priority as a matter of urgency.

“The Orange Order should apologise unreservedly for the offence this behaviour has caused and explain what action will be taken against the members concerned.”

Feargal Dalton is a Catholic Glasgow City councillor who represents the Victoria Park ward. “I was shocked when I heard about the incident and it is obviously the subject of a police investigation,” he said. “I meet regularly with the local police and will seek regular updates. I was also struck by the bravery of the students who must have feared for their own safety during the ordeal and I must publicly commend their bravery in reporting the matter to the police.”

In June 2015 Mr Dalton was accused of being a terrorist sympathiser by online ‘trolls’ for attending an Irish event.

He added: “Those of us who believe in respect and tolerance for all must never falter in standing up to such prejudices but it takes the bravery displayed by these students.

“I have lived in Glasgow for 20 years and I’m raising my children in our Catholic Faith.

“I have never felt any fear about practising my Faith because the vast majority of people in Glasgow do not ­partake in the reported sectarian antics.

“Scotland is a modern country where this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable but we must always be ready to expose and challenge extreme prejudices in whatever form they take.”

The Scottish charity Nil By Mouth, which campaigns against sectarianism, said the perpetrators of bigotry are living in the ‘dark ages.’

Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott said: “Sadly, there remain those in Scotland who don’t seem to wish to afford those from different faiths the same respect they themselves are quick to demand from the rest of society for their own beliefs and traditions.

“Given the Moderator of the Church of Scotland met the Pope, as equals, only last year these remarks show how far back in the dark ages some mindsets are.”

Thomas Porteous, Scottish Amalgamated Committee Chairman for the Apprentice Boys of Derry to The Sun: “We take allegations and reports of inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously.

“Any evidence of such behaviour should be immediately referred to the Scottish Amalgamated Committee to be dealt with as per our disciplinary procedures within the rules of the association.”

Police Scotland say they are aware of the incident and enquires are still ongoing.

– peter@sconews.co.uk

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