Anti-catholic bias may be ‘default setting’ says spokesman
THE Catholic Church in Scotland has called for a review into the projects used to tackle sectarianism amid claims that “anti-catholicism may be Scotland’s default setting”.
It comes as some academics questioned whether public money handed to groups such as Nil By Mouth was being spent appropriately or goes to those who “simply recycle the established ‘wisdoms’ about so called ‘sectarianism’”.
According to the Scottish Catholic Observer, Dr Joe Bradley, of Stirling University, suggested support for research into bigotry needed to be “spread to some of the academics and activists who haven’t received anything previously”.
The Scottish Government this week announced £515,000 in funding for anti-sectarianism projects, saying it had provided £13.5 million for such work in the last six years.
Nil By Mouth will receive £95,000, the bulk of the new funds.
Dr Bradley reportedly said: “We’ll get nowhere in terms of learning and understanding if it’s the same bodies, same academics, that get yet more money to say the same things: the things that actually just simply recycle the established ‘wisdoms’ about so called ‘sectarianism’,” he said.
But Nil By Mouth director Dave Scott insisted the charity must comply with criteria set out by the Independent Advisory Group on Sectarianism – “the most widely researched, bestevidenced and thorough pieces of work ever carried out on the subject in Scotland”.
At an Easter debate, Peter Kearney, the Scottish bishops’ spokesman, said an independent cost-benefit analysis of projects would be “a very good idea”.
He added: “The question needs to be asked: are the programmes we are funding at the moment working?”
Mr Kearney also insisted sectarianism was “alive and well”.
He added: “The very word ‘sectarianism’ is a euphemism.”
“It remains a blanket problem never to be defined,” he said, adding that “anti-catholicism may be Scotland’s default setting.”