BY Daniel Harkins | July 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

FR-TOM-WHITE

Catholics urged to ensure complaints over priest assault are officially recorded

Local councillors in the Calton area have urged those outraged by the anti-Catholic attack on Canon Tom White to contact the Glasgow Council Processions Committee directly—as Tweets and Facebook posts are not always counted when decisions are made.

Canon Tom White, parish priest of St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow, was speaking to parishioners when he was twice spat upon by a man who lunged at him with a pole, and called a ‘Fenian’ and a ‘paedophile’.

The alleged hate crime has resulted in thousands of social media posts condemning the marches, however councillors said it was vital that Catholics make their feelings known through official channels.

Councillor Greg Hepburn, a former parishioner of St Alphonsus, said: “We are trying to encourage as many people as possible to contact the council because that gives us a reference to ensure this doesn’t happen again in future.

“I know that we don’t actually get much comment on this—a lot of people comment on Twitter and Facebook but you’d be surprised how little formal complaint takes place. The more public comment there is and the more people feeding into the process then the more helpful that is because it shows the weight of evidence and how annoyed people are.

“Contacting councillors and MSPS is helpful but directly putting in a representation is more helpful because that’s official and recorded—it’s not how many people Tweeted but how many put in a correspondence.”

Fellow Calton councillor Jennifer Layden said the council needs to have a long conversation about what will happen with future marches and she said complaints should be officially made so they are recorded and logged.

“In the past 24 hours a number of people have contacted me on Twitter or verbally and I’ve asked them to put complaints in,” she said. “It is the best way to deal with that so it is all logged.”

A second Orange walk is due to go past St Alphonsus on July 21. Canon White said he hopes ‘fresh consideration is given to policing’ that parade.

Police Scotland said they are looking to identify those involved in the attack, and to trace a man aged from 20-30 with a shaved head.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said a meeting with council officers will be held this week as ‘it’s perhaps time to review our procedures in light of a number of factors.’

You can contact the Glasgow City Council Processions Committee at: processions@ced.glasgow.gov.uk

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