Orange March

Orange Order determined to march past church where priest was spat on

Canon Tom White and a typical Orange Walk in Dumbarton. Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

The Orange Order plans to march past St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow again on Saturday 25 August, passing the spot where Canon Tom White and parishioners were attacked last month.

They have rejected requests from Glasgow City Council officers to re-route. The issue will be decided by councillors at a Public Processions Committee meeting tomorrow at 10am.

The Archdiocese has protested in the strongest terms at the “gross insensitivity” of the proposal and calls on councillors to reroute this march. Police Scotland has also urged re-routing.

A spokesperson said: “Following the attack on Canon White just over one month ago, something changed in this city and beyond. The First Minister, the Justice Secretary, and the Leader of this Council spoke out; the media condemned, there was a tidal wave of revulsion on social media, and 83,000 people signed a petition online, to say … enough is enough.

“Yet we are here a few weeks later with a request for the Orange Order to parade at the precise point where it proved unable or unwilling to control its followers, and where the good name of Glasgow was shamed before the world.”

What kind of insensitivity is this, he asked.

The spokesman added: “The City of Glasgow has over a thousand streets on which a march could take place. Catholic churches are situated on about 50 of those streets.

“There are options to re-route this parade which would avoid the flashpoint of St Alphonsus or St Mary’s … but the organisers defiantly refuse to consider them.

“Tomorrow’s committee therefore must decide where its priorities lie … with the protection of the frightened and previously-attacked citizens who frequent St Alphonsus?

“With the good name of the city of Glasgow which was besmirched by the last parade at this site? With the wishes of the 83,000 people who spontaneously signed a protest petition?

“Or with a small band of marchers who desire only to demonstrate their rights, come hell or high water, irrespective of the impact they have on other people’s lives.”

Comments were pouring into social media late last night, most of them against the march taking place.

Alice Campbell said: “The committee of councillors must say no to this march taking place they have been offered different routes which it would appear they refuse to consider do not let this March take place The city of Glasgow does not need this.”

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