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4 July 2017

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Racist ‘Famine Song’ sung on Orange Walk in Glasgow – Police Scotland pressed to investigate

● A still from the video

In 2009, ‘The Famine Song’ was ruled by the Scottish Justiciary Appeal Court to be racist

THE Show Racism the Red Card (Scotland) campaign group has described as “blatant displays of anti-Irish racism” the singing by Orange Order followers in Glasgow at the weekend of The Famine Song during the annual Orange Walk.

Show Racism the Red Card

“We would call upon communities to report any racist incidents to Police Scotland,” Show Racism the Red Card Campaign Manager Nicola Hay said.

She added: “Anti-Irish racism is not acceptable.”

Police Scotland have said they are investigating reports of racism and sectarian abuse after a video by Liam O’Hare went viral, showing parade followers singing The Famine Song lyrics, including the lines: “The Famine is over, so why don’t you go home?”

The CommonSpace news website reported that, in 2009, The Famine Song (sung to the tune of the Beach Boys’ Sloop John B) was ruled by the Scottish Justiciary Appeal Court to be racist.

Football fan William Walls was convicted in 2008 of a breach of the peace aggravated by religious and racial prejudice. His conviction was upheld by Lord Carloway the following year because the song calls on people of Irish descent to “leave the country because of their racial origin”.

Police Scotland told CommonSpace that it operates a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of sectarian abuse and will fully investigate any incidents brought to their attention.

Meanwhile, the Executive Officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, Robert McLean, and Reverend Mervyn Gibson, Grand Secretary of the Orange Order of Ireland – who spoke in Glasgow on Saturday – insisted that the band seen on video was merely playing a Beach Boys number – despite the court ruling that it is racist and Saturday’s Orange Order followers clearly singing The Famine Song lyrics.

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