Police Scotland investigating racist 'Famine Song' singing at Glasgow Orange parade

Orange Order supporters sing racist 'Famine Song' as march proceeds through Glasgow

POLICE SCOTLAND is investigting alleged instances of "sectarian abuse" on an Orange Order parade through Glasgow City Centre (GCC).

Former CommonSpace journalist Liam O'Hare captured video footage of spectators singing the 'Famine Song' which calls for Scots of Irish descent to return to Ireland. Orange bands were playing the tune to the song during the singing.

CommonSpace contacted Police Scotland about the video, which shows officers at the scene but not taking action over the singing.

Speaking to CommonSpace, Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty said: "Saturday's police operation focused on the safety of the public during the parade.

"Police Scotland, however, operates a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any form of sectarian abuse and will fully investigate any incidents brought to their attention."

In 2009 the Famine song was ruled to be racist by the Scottish Justiciary Appeal Court.



Football fan William Walls was convicted of breach of the peace, aggravated by religious and racial prejudice in 2008, and his conviction was upheld by Lord Carloway because the song calls on people of Irish descent to "leave the country because of their racial origin".

The song lyrics state: "The famine is over, so why don't you go home."

A million people died in the Irish Great Famine of the 1840s, and a million more emigrated, some to Scotland. The famine is blamed by some historians on the mismangement and underdevelopment of Ireland by British governments.

Eight people were arrested during the parade for minor drinking and disorder offences at the march to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.

Speaking to CommonSpace, Robert McLean, executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge said: "On Saturday following the parade the police reported no major incidents to us, no cause for concern."

Questioned on whether it was acceptable for bands to play the tunes to songs that traditionally have sectarian lyrics sung along with them, McLean said: "The tune itself isn't a problem. It's an old 60s tune."

He said he "fully supported" Police Scotland's investigation.

Picture: Twitter/Liam O’Hare

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Paul Smith

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 18:21

So the police are actively investigating this specific incident?

ejfj's picture


Mon, 07/03/2017 - 19:57

If the evidence is there, I hope there are some prosecutions. Racist abuse is not valid, protected free speech.

florian albert

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 23:10

The Irish are not a race. They were not a race when the Church of Scotland produced its infamous 'Menace of the Irish Race' report in 1923 and no legal ruling by Lord Carloway will alter that.

Tom Devine has pointed out on many occasions that anti-Catholicism in Scotland is on its death bed.
He has also pointed out that, simultaneously, an anti-sectarian industry has arisen.
The 'Famine Song' is a wind-up and the involvement of left wing groups in this campaign merely demonstrates how utterly unserious the Scottish left has become.

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