Scots And Irish MEPs In Anti-Sectarian Programme

26 November 2008
Alyn Smith SNP Member of the European Parliament for Scotland will tomorrow (Thursday) welcome his Irish counterpart, Fine Fail MEP Eoin Ryan to Scotland for top level talks with the Scottish Football Association, Sport Scotland and a host of anti sectarian charities in Glasgow. 
The pair will then travel to Edinburgh to meet with Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing MSP at Holyrood.

The programme has been organised by the Scottish Government, and comes in the wake of Mr Ryan raising the issue of sectarianism in the European Parliament last week in Strasbourg, whereupon Mr Smith invited him to Scotland.  The programme will highlight the ongoing work that is taking place by charities, clubs and the Scottish Government to combat the issue and explore EU avenues of support for these efforts.

Alyn Smith said:

"We have full day in store that covers everything from grassroots to Government Ministers.  Eoin is a friend of Scotland, and I am sure that he will be thoroughly impressed with the measures that are being taken by all parties involved, and I'm grateful to the Scottish Government for putting such an impressive programme together so quickly.

"In Scotland, key organisations such as Nil by Mouth and Show Racism the Red Card work hand in hand with the Scottish Government, Scottish FA and most importantly the clubs themselves to tackle sectarianism.

"The Scottish Government are showing real leadership on this issue through a variety of initiatives and funding programmes.

"We have a strong history and commitment of tackling issues like this head on, but we can never be complacent.  The sad reality is that when a vocal minority, on any side, behave in an unacceptable manner, it not only reflects poorly on their club, but also their city and their country.  We must not allow them to tarnish Scotland's reputation in Europe."