Graffiti scrawled across the wall of a city center Catholic school in Glasgow, Scotland, has been deemed a hate crime by Scottish police because of its reference to the Irish famine.
The graffiti, which has since been removed, appeared in red spray paint on the walls of St. Aloysius in Garnethill and, according to Glasgow Live, read “the famine is over it’s time to go home”.
The Police were called to the school at 9pm last Sunday (August 22) and have confirmed that the message was anti-Irish.
“The incident is being treated as a hate crime and inquiries are ongoing,” a police spokesperson said.
“Graffiti was discovered on the Dalhousie Street side of the main building on the morning of Monday, August 22, following the weekend,” said a representative of St. Aloysius, the only Jesuit private school in Scotland.
"The matter was reported to police and inquiries are ongoing. The graffiti has now been removed."
The act of vandalism has been met with disappointment by BEMIS, a Scottish national group that works to empower the country’s ethnic and cultural minority groups.
“It’s sad to see and very unfortunate, that this particular slogan has raised it’s head again,” BEMIS Parliamentary and Policy Officer Danny Boyle told the Irish Post.
“We had significant issues in the last decade in Scotland with that slogan. It’s been sung at football matches or it’s been stickered around the city center or spray-painted on the walls of buildings.”
“The comments are quite clearly directed towards Irish people and not Catholic people i.e Polish or Nigerian Catholics wouldn’t take offense to a slogan of that nature,” Boyle continued.
Read more: How the world remembers the Irish FamineWhile most people know of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which although not exclusively based on religion was heavily divided between Catholics and Protestants, Glasgow has also seen its own smaller-scale sectarian rivalry between Irish Catholic immigrants and their ancestors, and the Protestant Scots.
In recent years this tension has lessened, mostly apparent in the (sometimes violent) rivalry between Glasgow two largest soccer clubs (known collectively as the Old Firm): Celtic, regarded as an Irish Catholic club, and Rangers, the Scottish Protestant club.
The clubs' rivalry intensified as the violence during the Troubles escalated and some regard it as having more of an association with Northern Ireland politics than with Scotland itself. The majority of both clubs’ fans do not engage in sectarianism.
According to a 2015 Scottish Government report, the vandalism comes after a year that suggested religiously and racially aggravated hate crimes in Scotland were at their lowest levels since 2004.
Sectarian graffiti daubed outside Catholic private school https://t.co/5iHQ9ptE8J— STV Glasgow (@STVGlasgow) August 22, 2016
H/T: Glasgow Live