HeadLine: LET’S BOOT OUT THE BIGOTS
The Mirror, 17/10/2002, p1
by RICHARD GRAY and SHAUN MILNE
THREE of the most powerful men in Scotland united for first time
yesterday in a bid to banish sectarian hatred from the nation’s
In an unprecedented move, First Minister Jack McConnell, Rangers
chairman John McLelland and chief executive of Celtic Ian McLeod agreed
to forge an alliance to tackle bigotry.
And their first decisive action was to launch a crackdown on the sale
of paramilitary flags, scarves and banners on sale outside Parkhead and
Following the historic meeting in Edinburgh, Mr McConnell said: “I
believe the sale of paramilitary memorabilia is something that
government can act upon and the clubs both want us to act upon.
“It is something that should be covered by licensing conditions for the
Speaking after the meeting at his official residence, Bute House, the
First Minister also said he was “impressed” by the moves both clubs
were making to combat sectarianism.
But he insisted that the Executive could now act as a bridge between
the clubs so that they could work jointly to tackle the issue.
He said: “We have agreed that my office and the clubs will join
together in joint activities.
“Initially that will be in the field of education, where the two clubs
joining together with government will take a lead and will try and
ensure that we make sectarianism a thing of the past for the next
generation of young Scots.”
Celtic’s chief executive, who recently sent a letter to 53,000 season
ticket holders urging them not to sing IRA songs, said he was pleased
that such a high profile was now being given to combating sectarianism.
Mr McLeod said: “It is an issue that needs to be tackled head-on in
Scotland and we are delighted to play our part.
“I’m encouraged by the level of support that we are getting and I’m
also encouraged by the level of progress that we’ve already made, but
there’s always more that can be done.”
Rangers supremo Mr McLelland added: “I think having the First
Minister’s leadership in this area is absolutely ideal and we look
forward to continuing this dialogue and seeing other initiatives
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