An attack on Catholic priest during an Orange march in Glasgow led to ‘rising tensions around Loyal Order parades’, an academic has claimed.
Dr Michael Rosie, of the University of Edinburgh, conducted the study into marches and parades in Scotland, which provided an update on a similar report he produced in 2016.
The Scottish Government will now consider recommendations made in the report.
The Review of the 2016 Independent Report on Marches, Parades and Static Demonstrations in Scotland found mixed progress on 21 recommendations made in the original report and called for increased dialogue.
His latest work was compiled with input from police, local authorities, the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland and the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
The report found one of the key developments since 2016 has been ‘rising tensions around Loyal Order parades’ following a 2018 attack on a Catholic priest outside a Glasgow church during an Orange march.
It called for ‘increased dialogue to strengthen – or indeed repair – relationships which, in some parts of Scotland, have become strained and, in some cases, seriously damaged’.
Welcoming the report, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said he is “particularly interested in Dr Rosie’s conclusions about the need for constructive dialogue and the fostering of good relations”.
He added: “The report provides a good basis to consider ways to improve the arrangement and organisation of marches, parades and static demonstrations so that everyone can exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and celebration of culture without this being tarnished by violence and disorder.
“The Scottish Government is keen to work with relevant parties on the implementation of these recommendations and look at how we can work more effectively to ensure all events are peaceful and run with the minimum of disruption to communities.”
Assistant chief constable Mark Williams also welcomed the report, saying: “Police Scotland has already undertaken its own review and is committed to continuing to work closely with all those involved to implement the recommendations in the review.”
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “The Catholic Church did not contribute to the report as it has a very limited locus in the planning, organising or conduct of parades or marches.”
The 2018 attack cited in Dr Rosie’s report occurred outside St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow’s East End on 7th July 2018. As reported by The Catholic Universe at the time, Canon Tom White was spat at and assaulted as he spoke to parishioners as an Orange Walk passed by. The man responsible, Bradley Wallace from Uddingston, was jailed for ten months.
Picture: Participants taking part in Orange Walks across the city of Glasgow. (Jane Barlow/PA).