Glasgow & West Scotland

Orange parade rerouted to avoid Glasgow St Alphonsus church

Orange parade Image copyright PA
Image caption The Orange Order has agreed to reroute the annual Boyne parade away from St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow

Marchers have agreed to reroute their annual Boyne parade after a Catholic priest was assaulted outside his Glasgow church at last year's event.

The Orange Order said the event on 6 July would avoid St Alphonsus church in the "spirit of positive co-operation".

It comes after the Catholic Church acknowledged the right of marches to go ahead "in accordance with the law".

Bradley Wallace was jailed in February for the assault on Canon Thomas White in July 2018.

In May, Glasgow Sheriff Court threw out a Loyalist bid to overturn a council decision to reroute four parades away from St Alphonsus Catholic Church, planned for June.

Glasgow City Council took the decision after concerns from Police Scotland about safety and counter protests if the marches went ahead.

That resulted in organisers cancelling the parades earlier this month.

'Freedom of expression'

In a statement, the Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Glasgow said it was "important that people of all faiths and none show good will and common sense to overcome tensions" as the traditional marching season reached its busiest month.

They added: "The Archdiocese of Glasgow acknowledges the right of any group or organisation to parade in accordance with the law.

"We recognise too the wisdom of Sheriff Stuart Reid's recent determination that "the right to freedom of expression is not an unrestricted right on particular grounds.

"The preferred solution of the Archdiocese of Glasgow is that marches be scheduled at times and along routes which do not cause difficulties or create anxiety for parishioners attending their local church."

Image copyright Google
Image caption St Alphonsus Church is on London Road in the east end of Glasgow

In response, the Orange Order said the recent controversy should result in a "willingness to engage and diffuse unnecessary tensions"

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said it was widely acknowledged that the right to parade was protected by law, but added "those rights, comes responsibility".

'Long term solution'

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland added: "Our position remains the same, in that we are always willing to engage in open and honest dialogue on the issues at hand.

"We fully recognise the recent positive comments from the Roman Catholic Church, and in the spirit of positive cooperation, we have proactively offered to parade on a different route for our main Boyne Celebrations this July.

"We have made this gesture in the hope that we can continue to progress discussions around a shared long term solution that accepts and respects each other's religious differences, without the need for religious divides."

More on this story