Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, has written to the First Minister and Police Scotland regarding displays of anti-Irish racism in Glasgow City Centre.
Before the Old Firm match on Sunday 29th August, video footage emerged of a large group of Rangers fans walking through the City Centre. The group was filmed singing a derogatory song referencing the Irish famine, with Police Officers escorting fans through the streets.
In the aftermath of this footage, Police Scotland have announced their intentions to make several arrests. On 2nd September, three individuals were charged. Nevertheless, the footage has attracted controversy due to the non-intervention of Officers at the scene.
Commenting on the situation, Monaghan said:
“It saddens and disgusts me to witness yet another display of public, explicit anti-Irish racism in our city. This is becoming a semi-regular occurrence, with prejudice and hate being (unconvincingly) disguised under the premise of ‘football hijinks’ – it is racism, pure and simple.
“Many Glaswegians have seen the video footage of Rangers fans singing an overtly racist chant which referenced the Irish famine and called on Irish people to “go home.” Such abhorrent behaviour has left the Irish community in Glasgow feeling unwelcome in their own city.
“If these sentiments were directed at any other ethnic minority, they would be rightfully and universally condemned as acts of hate and bigotry. We cannot brand anti-Irish racism as ‘the norm’ in Glasgow – it must be called out and persecuted as a hate crime.
“However, one of the most disturbing elements of the incident was the presence of Police Officers seemingly escorting the crowd through Glasgow. The decision to accompany the group of offenders through the City Centre – rather than make arrests at the time – gives the impression that law enforcement will not challenge racism on the streets of Glasgow. This is dangerous, as it implies that potential perpetrators can spread hate and division without fear of immediate repercussion.
“I wholly recognise that public and officer safety must be prioritised – but it is also crucial that racist football fans are not given space to air their hateful views, as they were on 29th August. As such, I have written to both the First Minister and Police Scotland to ask why arrests weren’t made at the scene, and to insist that Glasgow must live up to its potential as a welcoming city for people of all backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities.
“It is clear that we have an endemic anti-Irish problem in our city. Indeed, this is the third serious incident involving Rangers fans in the last six months, and the individuals involved appear increasingly emboldened. Taking retrospective action against the perpetrators is not good enough – we must all challenge hate when we see it.”