'The Famine is over, time to go home' Catholic school graffiti being treated as hate crime

'The Famine is over, time to go home' Catholic school graffiti being treated as hate crime

POLICE are treating the vandalism of a wall outside a Catholic school in Glasgow over the weekend as a hate crime.

Graffiti spray-painted onto the wall read: 'The famine is over, time to go home'.

The act of vandalism has been by described as 'sad and unfortunate' by a national group that works to empower Scotland's ethic and cultural minority communities.

BEMIS Parliamentary and Policy Officer Danny Boyle said: "It's sad to see and very unfortunate, that this particular slogan is raised it's head again.

"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 centre or spray-painted on the walls of buildings."

Police were called to St Aloysius' College in the Garnethill area of Glasgow on Sunday at 9pm.

An investigation has now been launched into the Famine slur, which has since been removed.

"Around 9pm on Sunday, August 21, police received a report of a vandalism outside a school on Hill Street, Glasgow," a Police Scotland spokesperson said. "The incident is being treated as a hate crime and inquiries are ongoing."

A statement from St Aloysius' College said: "Graffiti was discovered on the Dalhousie Street side of the main building on the morning of Monday, August 22, following the weekend.

"The matter was reported to police and enquiries are ongoing. The graffiti has now been removed."

BEMIS policy officer Danny Boyle added: "In relation to the slogan, Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will need to progress it as a racially motivated but aggravated offence because it's quite clearly directed towards a community's ethnicity, which has protection under the equality act as opposed to the perceived religious identity.

"The comments are quite clearly directed towards Irish people and not Catholic people i.e Polish or Nigerian Catholics wouldn't take offence to a slogan of that nature," he said.  

The incident comes following a Scottish Government report published at the end of last year that suggested religiously and racially aggravated hate crimes in Scotland have reached its lowest levels since 2004. 

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