BY Daniel Harkins | February 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Priest ‘saddened’ at return of ‘business as usual’ Orange marching season as bigot is jailed for 10 months

A priest who was attacked outside his church as an Orange walk went past has said he is ‘saddened’ that Scotland has returned to ‘business as usual’ with the return of the marching season.

Canon Tom White spoke after his attacker was sentenced to 10 months in prison for being part of a mob that intimidated parishioners of St Alphonsus’ Church in Glasgow’s East End last July.

Bradley Wallace, 24, assaulted Canon White on July 7 last year. His DNA was later found to match saliva on the back of the vestment worn by Canon White.
Wallace, from Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, admitted the assault last month.

“Having been made aware of the sentence that Bradley Wallace received for his part in what the Sheriff has described as a ‘grotesque spectacle,’ I am encouraged to learn that Mr Wallace has recognised the ‘unacceptable nature of his conduct,’” Canon White said in a statement released through Call it Out, a group that campaigns against anti-Catholic bigotry and anti-Irish racism.

“I think however the conviction of one man, for one spittle does not reflect or begin to address what happened last July. My parishioners and I were spat at and shouted at by a mob, the memory of some of my frailest and most vulnerable parishioners fleeing their church in a state of fear and alarm is one that will abide with me for a long time.

“I have no desire for myself or my parishioners to be the focus of an issue which has a much larger context that needs addressed, and I am saddened that already there are clear signals that a new marching season has arrived, and it is back to business as usual.”

Sentencing Mr Wallace at Glasgow Sheriff Court on February 27, Sheriff Andrew Cubie said: “This is about the courts reflecting disapproval of the depressingly still deep seated and widespread social issue of sectarianism, which generates at the very least tension and at worst both hatred and conflict and which disfigures civilised society.

“The courts in Scotland still deal all too frequently with cases of sectarian abuse which serve to harden and perpetuate divisions in society.

“You could have acted with restraint but rather, no doubt emboldened by, and thinking that you were under the cover of this aggressive and threatening crowd, you took the decision to spit on the priest, an act which is disgusting, cowardly and provocative, which demonstrates contempt and hostility and is designed to humiliate and demean.

“The whole situation must have been, as you recognise, very frightening for the complainer and those around him.”

He added: “Those tempted to act in a sectarian way must understand society’s repugnance of and weariness of that kind of behaviour and must expect to be dealt with accordingly.”

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