‘Number of arrests’ expected over anti-Irish chanting in Glasgow

‘Number of arrests’ expected over anti-Irish chanting in Glasgow

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins condemned the anti-Irish Catholic behaviour as ‘unacceptable’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A senior Police Scotland officer has said he expects a “number of arrests” to be made following “unacceptable” anti-Irish Catholic singing in Glasgow.

Footage posted on social media showed Rangers fans marching through the city centre attended by police on Sunday afternoon while chanting an anti-Irish song referring to the Famine.

Politicians condemned the scenes, with Scotland’s Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, saying he was “disgusted” by the anti-Irish racism on show following Sunday’s Old Firm game.

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “We did not facilitate this event and to say so is inaccurate.

“Officers on patrol came across this group as it was making its way through Glasgow city centre.

“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. 

Mr Higgins said he "fully expects" a number of arrests to be made.

“This type of anti-Irish Catholic behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

“Our inquiries are ongoing to identify those who were involved and we will take the appropriate action against them.”

He urged anyone with information to contact police on 101.

“However, the challenges of the sectarianism still evident in some parts of Scotland are a much broader societal problem," he said.

"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.

Scotland’s Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf tweeted: “For those hurling racist abuse at our Irish community telling them to ‘Go home’ – Scotland is their home.

“Disgusted to once again see anti-Irish racism rear its ugly head.

“Solidarity with our Irish community.

“I am sure Police Scot will hold those responsible to account.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie also condemned the scenes.

He tweeted: “The images of a mob singing anti-Irish racist songs, as they marched through Glasgow escorted by police, 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.”

Glasgow Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy tweeted on Monday: “Not sharing the video because it’s vile and I’m not platforming it, but just to say; racists have no place in Glasgow, Scotland or the world.

“Absolutely disgusted at the behaviour displayed yesterday.”

Pressure group Call It Out, which campaigns against anti-Catholic bigotry and anti-Irish racism in Scotland, called on the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council to take action and to “start by recognising our community”.

The group tweeted: “This is the kind of racism you don’t notice, day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade.

“When are you going to call it out?”

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