SECTARIAN troubles in Northern Ireland caused by a no-deal Brexit could be mirrored in Scotland’s Catholic and Protestant communities, the Scottish Government has warned.

The potential for violent disorder was highlighted in civil contingency plans published by the SNP Government, which also said the old port at Stranraer may have to be turned into emergency parking for 300 lorries.

Some container goods may also have to be moved through Grangemouth and Greenock Ocean Terminal if there are blockages at Dover, with a Northern Isles freight ferry earmarked “as a last resort for importing critical supplies in the event UK measures fail”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney told MSPs he had also set up a special group to monitor shortages of medicines and created a £7m fund for councils to alleviate financial hardship.

He said the economic shock of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 could push Scotland into recession, with a 5 per cent rise in prices, principally food, tipping 130,000 people into poverty.

He also there would be extra support for Marine Scotland in case of “disorder at sea”, including illegal fishing and fights between UK and foreign trawlers.

The 30-page planning document said 300 police officers would be available in case of Brexit-related public disorder.

A separate paper on the Scottish Government’s reasonable worst-case scenarios also discussed the potential for copy-cat sectarian strife if trouble broke out in Northern Ireland, which voted for Remain overall, but where the Unionist DUP is promoting Brexit.

“Increased tensions in Northern Ireland as a result of EU Exit arrangements has the potential to influence certain communities in Scotland,” it said.

Last week, the Herald revealed assaults against police officers has risen by a third amid increased sectarian tensions in Scotland.

More than 563 officers were hurt as a result of assaults between April and June, an increase of 32 per cent on the same period in 2018.

Police were forced to respond to sectarian violence in Glasgow last month as Loyalist and Republican marchers and protesters clashed.

Nicola Sturgeon blamed the opposition parties for repealing the law designed to stamp out religious bigotry at football matches and sending "entirely the wrong signal".

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The new document said demonstrations of all kinds were most likely in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee and may be “conflicting, unplanned and short notice”, and would “absorb significant police resource”

It said: “Police are planning in anticipation for the potential increase in demand for public order policing for demonstrations and protests in relation to the EU exit. Currently there is no intelligence to indicate that events will not be law abiding.”

Michael Gove, the UK’s no-deal minister, also published UK government plans for no-deal and admitting to MPs that “remain and challenges for some businesses cannot be entirely mitigated”, despite extensive preparations.

Mr Gove said he was “deeply worried” about the Scottish Government’s no-deal Brexit preparations, claiming money was not being passed on to local authorities most in need, with a “miserly” £50,000 going to each local authority in Scotland.

He said: “I am deeply worried that the Scottish Government, despite containing many good ministers, is not passing on the money that we are giving to them for Scotland’s citizens.”

The Irish Government said no-deal was now its “central assumption”, and announced a £1.1bn fund to help absorb the impact on its economy.

Presenting his budget, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told the Dail parliament it was “without precedent”, and included £580m to support agri-food and tourism and £180m for government departments to increase staffing levels and upgrade airports and ports.

He said: “The context for Brexit has shifted to no-deal as our central assumption. This does not mean no deal is inevitable, but equally we stand ready if it does happen.”

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Mr Swinney told Holyrood the Scottish Government had spent or committed £98.25m of the £98.7m in Barnett-formula money allocated for Brexit, and has asked for £52m more on top of another confirmed £40m.

He said a no-deal was now a “significant risk”, and claimed the UK’s proposals for a deal appeared “designed to fail” and were part of a political ploy to blame the EU and Ireland.

He said: “There is no amount of preparation that could ever make us ‘ready’, in any real sense, for the needless and significant impact of a no-deal outcome.

“There is no doubt [it] would have profound consequences for jobs, investment and living standards across Scotland and the rest of the UK - the UK government should do the responsible thing and rule it out now.”

Labour MSP Alex Rowley said the statement confirmed the “severe and unnecessary harms” which would result from no-deal Brexit, and said the Conservatives were to blame.

He said: “It has been utterly disingenuous for Tory MPs and MSPs to tell us that they are seeking to agree a deal with the EU when all they have put forward is unworkable solutions.

“A no-deal Brexit is predicted to go ahead despite measures being put in place to avoid it.”

But Tory MSP Donald Cameron stressed his party was “committed to leaving the EU with a deal as the best way to avoid a no-deal exit”.

He said: “We continue to believe that securing a deal is best for protecting our economy and that is where our efforts should be concentrated.”

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LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “There is no Brexit deal that is better than the deal we already enjoy as members of the European Union.

“It’s a dismal state of affairs that we’re having to spend millions of pounds to prepare for a Boris Johnson Brexit that would devastate our economy and put thousands of people out of work. Precious time and money is being wasted on these dangerous plans.

“No-deal would be extremely damaging to people across the whole of the UK. We must do all that we can to stop it.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie urged the Scottish Government to clarify what support would be available for EU nationals in the event of no-deal.

He said: “Those EU citizens who are already here, whose lives have been subject to such uncertainty and anxiety, I think frankly their contribution to our society has been demeaned by the UK Government and those seeking to end freedom of movement.

“If ‘no deal’ at the end of October can be prevented, which of course it should be, their lives will still be facing the prospect of future vulnerability, not least if a future general election leads to a Conservative government whose central mission is to throw those people’s lives under a bus in a brutal, no-deal Brexit to come.”