Councillors received death threats after objecting to Orange walk

Two West Dunbartonshire councillors told how they received death threats over efforts to block a controversial Orange walk in Dumbarton.

Both Douglas McAllister and Jonathan McColl confirmed chilling remarks were made to them after they opposed a procession by the Provincial Grand Black Chapter back in 2009.

Labour member McAllister spoke angrily this week about a lack of bravery by the council to try and enforce change after SNP councillor Karen Conaghan had raised a motion having been contacted by “distressed” constituents over anti-Catholic slogans being painted locally.

This came just days before Police Scotland confirmed they were investigating a ‘racist anti-Irish march’ in Glasgow.

Our sister title, the Daily Record reported on Sunday how a group of football fans were filmed walking through the city centre singing “the famine is over, why don’t you go home”.

Days earlier at the council meeting Councillor McAllister said that tough action needs to be taken to stop such incidents happening and that the motion and its resulting report, for noting, didn’t go far enough.

He blasted: “I really don’t see the point of this item whatsoever.

“I had expected something brave and bold come back to this council.

“We have not addressed the issue of marches.

“I will move that this is continued to the next council meeting for us to receive a response from the Scottish Government and to allow council to consider that response.”

The Clydebank member told how he had made statements in the past which led to death threats being made in his name after opposing a march in 2009.

He said: “I was brave enough to move at a licensing committee that we should not allow the Grand Black Chapter to march in our town.

“Within three days they had had that decision overturned to allow them to march in our streets in West Dunbartonshire.

“As a result, I received a phonecall informing me that very serious death threats had been received in my name.

“Local authorities don’t have the power to stop these marches in our streets. The only people who can do anything about it are the Scottish Government.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl backed down on an earlier comment made to Councillor McAllister of his “faux anger” on the issue, confirming he had seconded the Clydebank member’s motion in 2009.

He added: “I had death threats following that. This is something we stand together on.”

Members had unanimously agreed to write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon among others asking the issues to be addressed urgently nationally. The issue was continued to a future meeting.

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