THE volume of anti-Catholic graffiti daubed around Glasgow has more than doubled over the past year, prompting campaigners to demand an end to community divisions.

The defacing of derelict buildings or other spaces has long been commonplace, but new figures show 188 complaints of sectarian graffiti targeting Catholics were logged last year.

Examples include a wall of St Aloysius College in Garnethill, Glasgow, a Jesuit private school, where a police investigation was launched in August 2016 after vandals sprayed the words: “The famine is over, it’s time to go home”.

Loading article content

The level of anti-Catholic graffiti has doubled in the year to 2017 – with a further 56 incidents already logged between January and March, according to a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper.

Addressing the rise in sectarian graffiti, David Scott, campaign director of the anti-sectarian group Nil by Mouth said: “There’s fewer more pitiful examples of bigotry than daubing sectarian graffiti on public spaces.

“Sadly, we have seen an increase in this over past 12 months as pathetic little people spout their bile in an effort to antagonise others.

“We would be up for talking to the council about tying in with some our community projects to create artwork celebrating difference to make sure visitors know Glasgow is bigger, better and bolder than bigotry.”

The incidents have included similar vandalism near football stadia, and in Nelson Mandela Place in the centre of Glasgow’s so-called ‘Style Mile’ and Buchanan Street, and in the neighbouring Merchant City.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “Religious intolerance, whether verbal or visual is always unacceptable.

“Recent Religious Hate Crime statistics showed that although Catholics account for just 16 per cent of the population, 57 per cent of all such crime targets Catholics or Catholicism.

“It appears that graffiti in our largest city seems to mirror this saddening disparity.

“This seems to be a further example of the failure of both national and local anti-sectarianism strategies to achieve results.

“It is difficult to see an alternative to a substantial reform of policy in this area.”

A council spokesman said that they take a “zero tolerance approach” to sectarianism.

He added: “This includes encouraging people to report religious based hate crimes and educating our young people about diversity, equality and inclusion. This type of disgusting anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and the perpetrators should be ashamed. We’d ask anyone with information about the culprits to contact the police.” He said the majority of sectarian graffiti is removed within a specified two day time frame. Police treated the St Aloysius incident as a hate crime. It is not clear whether there were any arrests.