Police investigate singing of Famine Song during Orange Walks

An investigation has been launched by Police Scotland following Saturday's Orange Walk in Glasgow after a video emerged showing spectators singing a banned chat known as the Famine Song.

Thousands took to the street in Glasgow to take part in Orange Walks. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

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The video was posted on Sunday afternoon, quickly going viral. It showed the march walking under a bridge on the route as crowds on either side watched on and cheered. However, the son’s lyrics, ‘the famine is over, why don’t you go home’ were audible.

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Around 5,000 people in 63 bands paraded through the streets of Glasgow for the annual Orange Walks with eight arrests made for alleged minor disorder and alcohol-related offences.

Brian McInulty, chief superintendent, said of the video: “Saturday’s policing operation primarily focused on the safety of the public at the parades.

“Police Scotland, however, operates a no-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of sectarian abuse and will fully investigate any incident brought to our attention.”

The clip was posted by @Liam_O_Hare, garnering more than 3,000 retweets, while also giving birth to a parody with the YMCA dubbed over the video.

The poster replied to his own video saying: “For those who don’t know it, they’re singing that popular racist ditty “The famine is over why don’t you go home?

“Also worth pointing out that the Tories are only in power because they rely on the support of the political wing of these bigots.

“A suggestion: we mobilise for a massive rally against bigotry in Glasgow on the same day as next year’s Orange Walk. Enough is Enough.”

The song came to prominence in June 2009 when an Appeal Court case was brought against a football fan who was accused of singing the sectarian song.

Lord Carloway described how the song makes reference to “the potato famine of the 1840s.”

He said: “The song calls upon persons of Irish descent, who are living in Scotland, to go back to the land of their ancestors, namely Ireland.

“The Court does not consider that the lyrics of this refrain bear any reasonable comparison to those of ‘Flower of Scotland’ or indeed ‘God Save the Queen’.

“Rather they are racist in calling upon people native to Scotland to leave the country because of their racial origins.

“This is a sentiment which, once more, many persons will find offensive.”