Letter: Legal rush

The determination to rush through anti-sectarian legislation is not only foolish but a massive over-reaction. The impression is spread of a country-wide - and rapidly growing - upsurge in sectarian "crime", yet I have read no statistical evidence of this to justify new laws (your report, 18 June).

Sending a parcel bomb is already a sufficiently serious offence to attract a lengthy prison sentence, whether or not sectarian-inspired. It would be enlightening to have details of the locations of recorded instances of "sectarian" violence, say over the past five years.

There is an apparent assumption that spectators who chant "hatred" at football matches carry over such antagonism into their daily lives. What evidence is there of that? This aspect of the problem should be dealt with by the football authorities: limiting attendance to 50 per cent of the average at the home grounds of supporters involved would be effective.

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Sectarian chants and songs at football matches are rarely directed at individuals and are harmlessly stupid if seen from the "sticks and stones" approach, whereas aiming them at people in the street would be seriously offensive. There is more than enough posturing in politics and present laws in this matter are completely adequate.


Ormiston Road