SECTARIANISM: Anti-Catholic/Irish singing by group of Rangers fans alleged

Scottish Ministers Humza Yousaf and (SNP) and Patrick Harvie (Scottish Green Party).

By Bill Heaney

BBC Scotland and STV are reporting that police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.

A video on social media showed a group being escorted by police through Glasgow city centre while chanting an anti-Irish song referencing the famine.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins defended the actions of the officers who came across the fans.

And he said anti-Irish Catholic behaviour was “wholly unacceptable”.

Inquiries are continuing to identify those involved, and he said “appropriate action” would be taken.

Police Scotland earlier said it had launched an investigation after being made aware of sectarian singing by a group of people in the Jamaica Street area.

The incident happened before Rangers beat Celtic 1-0 at Ibrox in the first Old Firm game of the season.

Bernard Higgins
Assistant Chief Constable Higgins said a retrospective investigation had been launched

Assistant Chief Constable Higgins said officers on patrol had come across the group in the city centre on Sunday.

“We did not facilitate this event and to say so is inaccurate,” he said.

“Due to the numbers and to ensure public and officer safety, additional officers were called to assist and, at this point, individuals’ details were noted and the group dispersed.

“A retrospective investigation into this anti-Irish Catholic singing has been launched and we are following up a number of lines of inquiry, including reviewing CCTV footage and footage on social media.

“I fully expect a number of arrests to be made.”

He went on to say that anti-Irish Catholic behaviour was “wholly unacceptable”.

ACC Higgins added: “The challenges of the sectarianism still evident in some parts of Scotland are a much broader societal problem and, whilst policing will have a role to play in addressing the symptoms, its causes are a problem which require a more effective, joined-up, civic response.”

When the footage emerged, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf expressed “solidarity” with the Irish community and said he was “disgusted” by the incident.

“I am sure Police Scotland  will hold those responsible to account,” he posted on Twitter.

‘Utterly unacceptable’

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the images “ought to be shocking but are shamefully all too familiar”.

“At the very least, we need an assurance that every identifiable person in that crowd will face charges,” he added.

Glasgow Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said she was “absolutely disgusted at the behaviour displayed yesterday”.

And Labour’s Pauline McNeill MSP said: “Following yesterday’s events I have again submitted a question to the Scottish Government asking what action it plans to take to prevent anti-Irish racism being perpetrated on Scotland’s streets. It’s all very well everyone tweeting their outrage, but what is being done to stop it?”

A Scottish government spokesman said hatred and bigotry of any kind was “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

“Scotland is a diverse, multicultural and multi-faith society and we are fully committed to tackling all forms of bigotry, prejudice and racism, including anti-Irish racism.

“We support Police Scotland in taking appropriate and proportionate action to safeguard public safety.”

One comment

  1. Had it been someone saying even the most inoffensive thing about Islam then you can bet your bottom dollar that Police Scotland would have intervened and arrested someone for hate crime.

    Abusing Kafflicks, well that’s fair game. Police Scotland a malign and corrupt political police service.

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