BY James Farrell | November 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

parade

Parades consultation branded ‘time wasting exercise’ by campaigners

Calls have been made for Glasgow City Council to respect the rights of Church-going Catholics in Glasgow after the launch of a new public consultation.

The online questionnaire which asks constituents whether processions in Glasgow have a positive or negative impact on the community has come under-fire from campaign group Call It Out, which has branded the move a ‘time- and money-wasting exercise’ as it ‘will not change the law.’

The council highlighted that they weren’t asking about whether constituents thought parades ought to be permitted as this was ‘beyond the council’s legal powers.’

 

Legal power

Call It Out spokeswoman Jeanette Findlay highlighted the legal powers the council has in her response to the consultation.

She said: “The Council have, at their disposal, courtesy of Sheriff Reid’s judgement, all the powers they need to ensure everyone’s rights are respected.

“I suggest they study it carefully and simply apply the law without fear or favour to all groups.”

Sheriff Reid’s judgement was announced after the Apprentice Boys of Derry, Bridgeton appealed the council’s decision to re-route a proposed march past St Mary’s Church, Calton where a priest was previously spat on and counter protesters were verbally abused as ‘Fenian b******s.’

 

Sherrif’s decision

Sheriff Reid’s judgement said that the Glasgow City Council ‘reasonably concluded’ that the route of the march past the church ‘would have the likely effect of causing disruption of the life of the community, due to an apprehended risk of violent criminality or disorder aggravated by religious prejudice.’

The judgement goes on to explain: “The pursuer’s members remain free to assemble and to process, up and down, backwards and forwards, or in circles if they wish…

“The effect of the Order is merely to prevent the pursuer marching at a particular locus that would otherwise bring the procession into close proximity to the Church.”

Ms Findlay went on to say of the consultation: “It is yet another attempt to deflect from the fact that the people who are responsible for the disgraceful events of the summer and for the generations of threats and intimidation of our community are the Loyal Orders and their supporters.”

 

Consultation

The public online questionnaire was launched on November 1 and will run until 23 December. The council has also hired market research company Ipsos Mori to carry out further work, such as focus groups and interviews.

Data will then be fed back into a review of parades and processions which was announced by the council in September.

The review will also consider whether the current requirements properly balance the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression with the legitimate rights of local residents and businesses.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Glasgow responded to the news, saying: “The Church acknowledges the right of anyone to parade in accordance with the law. We would ask that the routing and timing of marches do not cause difficulties or anxiety for parishioners attending their local church.

“It is for the police and local authorities to ensure safety and public order are paramount when considering applications to parade, recognising that the right to freedom of expression is not an unrestricted right.”

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