BY Daniel Harkins | May 24 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

5 - walk

No arrests as parishioners branded ‘fenians’ outside their church

Glasgow parishioners were abused as ‘Fenian b*****ds’ last week as a heavily policed Orange walk marched past St Alphonsus Church in the East End on Saturday May 18.

The anti-Catholic abuse was directed at parishioners who had gathered outside their church to show their opposition to the parade, the second to march past since the start of the year.

Parish priest Canon Tom White was attacked outside the church in July as parishioners left Mass while an Orange parade went by.


No arrests

Despite a heavy police presence including scores of officers stationed outside the church, no arrests were made.

Shown a video of the incident and asked why no action was apparently taken against those directing abuse at the parishioners, a spokesperson for Police Scotland said no complaint had been made at the time, but they are now investigating.

“Police Scotland has a zero tolerance approach to hate crime,” a spokesperson said. “The offending phrase heard on the [Tweeted video] is being investigated.

“It was not reported at the time and no one has been identified as being responsible at this time.

”Anyone who has any info which would assist the investigation should contact Police Scotland via 101.”


Call for investigation

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “All instances of religious hate crime should be fully investigated.

“Hopefully Police Scotland will deploy whatever resources are necessary to apprehend the perpetrators of this intolerance.”


Call it Out

Parishioners at the church and its linked parish of St Mary’s have taken a stance against the Orange walks since the attack in July, and have been supported in their efforts by campaign group Call it Out.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress also lent their support to the parish on Saturday.

Call it Out have demanded the council reroute marches away from Catholic churches. However, the council claim the campaign is ‘demanding action’ that is ‘beyond its legal powers.’


Council response

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We have a limited legislative framework to work within—but, it is a fact that the number of public processions taking place in Glasgow has fallen substantially.

“We will continue to examine how best we can balance the rights of communities with those of people who wish to march—and we will respond where our partners raise concerns over public order and safety.

“However, the fact remains that this campaign is demanding the council takes action it knows are well beyond its legal powers.”


‘institutionally anti-Catholic’

A spokesperson for Call it Out however said: “Nobody is asking the council to ban marches; we’ve asked for them to be rerouted. That is our position having taken advice that they do have the power to reroute.

“The council and the police are failing to use the powers they have to hand in order to protect the Catholic community and on that basis we would suggest that both organisations are in danger of being seen to be institutionally anti-Catholic.”


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