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Glasgow Archdiocese speaks out over Orange walks

Glasgow Archdiocese have expressed their desire that Orange walks will be scheduled around times and along routes that ‘do not cause difficulties or create anxiety’ for any Mass-attending Catholics.

The archdiocese released a statement on June 21 as the traditional marching season approaches its busiest month, adding that they hope ‘good will and common sense’ will be shown.

“As the traditional marching season reaches its busiest month it is important that people of all faiths and none show good will and common sense to overcome tensions,” a spokesperson for the archdiocese said. “The Archdiocese of Glasgow acknowledges the right of any group or organisation to parade in accordance with the law.

“We recognise too the wisdom of Sheriff Stuart Reid’s recent determination that ‘the right to freedom of expression is not an unrestricted right on particular grounds.’”

They also stated that their ‘preferred solution’ would be that marches are scheduled to take place ‘at times and along routes which do not cause difficulties or create anxiety for parishioners attending their local church’.

They also expressed trust that police and local authorities would take care that ‘safety and public order and paramount when decided on applications to parade’.

The statement comes after Orange Order groups failed to win a court bid earlier this month against Glasgow City Council’s order to reroute a march past St Alphonsus’ Church in Glasgow, after the parish priest was spat on.

24-year-old Bradley Wallace spat on parish priest of St Alphonsus’, Canon Tom White as the march went past the church on July 7 last year.

Glasgow Archdiocese’s statement was praised by Call It Out, a campaign group against anti-Catholic bigotry, as ‘significant’.

“This statement, the very first of its kind, is a significant reinforcement of the growing demand from the minority Catholic community to have their rights respected on an equal basis to all other citizens,” they said. “Call it Out welcome the clarification provided by the Archdiocese of Glasgow today that anti-Catholic marches should pro-actively use routes that do not cause fear and alarm to Scotland’s minority Catholic community.

“The state has a positive duty to uphold human rights and to protect citizens from discrimination.

“This includes ensuring that people from the Catholic community are not subject to anti-Catholic hate crimes and overt, inflammatory expressions of anti-Catholic supremacy.

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