Orange Order parade ban warning in wake of Famine Song police probe

Posted By: July 04, 2017


Distributed by Irish National Caucus

“The warning came after police began a probe into online footage from Saturday showing a crowd singing The Famine Song, which has been ruled to be racist by a Scottish court.”

Daily Record. Scotland. Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Council chiefs have made it clear the right to march is “not absolute” after police investigation launched into sectarian singing during Saturday’s parade in Glasgow.

Council chiefs have fired a shot across the bows of the Orange Order after police launched a probe into sectarian singing during Saturday’s big parade in Glasgow.

Around 4,500 people in 63 bands took to the streets at the weekend with thousands of spectators looking on but Glasgow City Council has now made it clear the right to march is “not absolute” and that similar parades could face restrictions or even be banned in future if they are marred by anti-social behavior.

The warning came after police began a probe into online footage from Saturday showing a crowd singing The Famine Song, which has been ruled to be racist by a Scottish court.

The incident occurred as an Orange band struck up the tune as they passed under a bridge in Glasgow where a large crowd had gathered.

People are heard to sing the banned song, which is deemed offensive as the lyrics urge people to leave Scotland because of their racial origin.

In the wake of the police investigation, a Council spokesman told the Herald:”The European Convention on Human Rights enshrines the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

“However, these rights are not absolute. They must be balanced by the responsibility to ensure the rights of others are not infringed.

 “As with all public processions,  there will be a debrief involving Police Scotland. The Council will take into account any issues of public disorder, anti-social behavior or damage to property resulting from the procession.

 “It will also take into consideration any evidenced issues and, if a future procession notification is received, the likelihood of any restriction or prohibition may be greater.”

The Orange Order has been keen to distance itself from the incident on Saturday with the main parade passing off peacefully with only eight arrests for “minor offenses” and no major incidents of trouble.

The Order’s Executive Officer in Scotland Robert McLean says he is confident none of his members were involved in singing the banned song.

He told the Herald: “None of our members took part in this. The band played the tune but it was the people on the streets who put the words to the tune.

“There is nothing offensive about playing a tune, only when you put the words to it.

“If there is evidence to say who was singing then I am quite sure that the police will deal with that.”