SNP's Kenny MacAskill calls on Scottish Government to commemorate James Connolly
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SNP's Kenny MacAskill calls on Scottish Government to commemorate James Connolly

A LEADING politician has called on the Scottish government to celebrate famed Irish independence fighter James Connolly.

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made the comments yesterday, calling on the Scottish Parliament to officially recognise the role that Edinburgh-born Connolly played in Ireland’s Easter Rising.

Over the coming year the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee (Scotland) – which includes Mr MacAskill - plan to commemorate the contingent of Glasgow-based members of the Irish Volunteers that participated in the Rising.

The key role played by James Connolly will be a particular focus for the group.

Connolly was executed by British forces for his participation in the Rising which took place 100 years ago next April.

In his motion brought to parliament this week, Mr MacAskill called for recognition of Connolly’s involvement with the Scottish Socialist Federation, the Independent Labour Party and his work with socialist politics in the US, before his involvement in the Rising.

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However Mr MacAskill’s comments have come under fire, being slammed as hypocritical, from some groups in Scotland.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP was one of the many Scottish politicians who championed the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

The Act was introduced in an effort to curb sectarian activity at football games in Scotland and has outlawed certain songs from being sung at matches – such as Glasgow Celtic favourites Boys of the Old Brigade and Roll of Honour.

This week the Fans Against Criminalisation organisation spoke out on social media, noting the “irony” behind Mr MacAskill’s actions, as the Act meant Irish football fans were prohibited from singing their nationalist songs.