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No Anti-Catholic marches past Catholic Churches, silent protest at St Alphonsus RC Church, Glasgow,Protesting at the Bridgeton Loyal Orange and Purple District No37 march past the church.Sat 16th February 2019.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2

Enough is enough: politicians and Police Scotland must ensure the safety of the Catholic community

Canon Tom White, parish priest of St Mary’s and St Alphonsus Churches, Glasgow, reflects on being attacked by bigots a year ago.

One year on from being assaulted as a Loyal Order Boyne march passed St Alphonsus Church in London Road, and having asked for a ‘new normal’ whereby the minority Catholic Community are not subjected to this type of bigotry and hatred outside their places of worship, I am saddened that the ‘new normal’ seems to be nowhere near being achieved.

The Boyne march last weekend, Saturday July 6, was rerouted by the Loyal Orders but they still insisted on passing a Catholic Church, Blessed John Duns Scotus on Ballater St in the Gorbals.

 

Disregard

Despite meeting with the clergy from Blessed John Duns Scotus and giving assurance that the Church would be absolutely respected we witnessed yet another Church targeted by mob mentality with complete disregard for the conditions imposed upon their march by Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

 

Bands ignored the condition of not playing music within 100 metres of the church with one band, Bridgeton No Surrender, actually stopping very close to the church and continuously playing despite Police Scotland requesting that they stop.

 

This was accompanied by their followers singing and dancing on the pavement in a mob like fashion.

 

Other attacks

Earlier in the day a young woman was physically assaulted by two band members from the Drumchapel Protestant Boys, with one actually spitting on her.

 

I feel it is now time to hold to account those in public office: the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council for failing in their statutory duties.

 

There is a systemic failure at national and local level in ensuring the safety of all citizens, and particularly the minority Catholic group, during the Loyal Order marching season.

 

A ‘paralysed’ city

They seem to be blind to this despite incontrovertible evidence of the anti-Catholic bigotry on show when Glasgow City Centre is paralysed to allow 8,000 members of the Loyal Orders and their followers to march through our streets and take over one of our dear green places to display a level of animosity to a particular minority group.

 

This would certainly not be allowed if it targeted other minority communities such as Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Gypsy, Roma & Travellers or the LGBT communities, and this is entirely appropriate. I am demanding no more than equality for the minority Catholic community.

 

The increased usage of social media on such a wide scale, alongside the hours of footage recorded on CCTV and by Police Scotland during Saturday’s marches means that the evidence of this inequality is freely available.

 

Call for action

It is time for the government (national and local) and Police Scotland to act to eradicate this.

 

The minority Catholic Community should not need to rely on a court judgement, as happened on May 31, when Sheriff Reid ruled that Glasgow City Council used their powers appropriately and proportionately to prevent such marches passing Catholic places of worship.

 

I call on politicians at all levels and from all political parties to work with Police Scotland and the judicial system to bring about change, as is their statutory duty, that ensures the safety of the Catholic community and all other citizens and visitors to Glasgow to go about their lawful business, including such fundamental freedoms as worshiping without fear and intimidation—or to simply cross from one side of the street to another in Glasgow City Centre!

 

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