Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs, has announced that nine projects across will receive £515,000 for anti-sectarianism work – building on the ‘unprecedented’ investment in this area by the SNP Scottish Government in recent years.
The new funding will help reduce and prevent sectarianism in communities by delivering education in schools and workplaces, including teacher and youth work training; engagement with online communities; and a school pupil exchange programme with Northern Ireland’s Corrymeela community.
The new initiatives build on previous investment by the SNP Government, which to date has supported 108 organisations to deliver anti-sectarian education, bringing total funding for this work to £13.5 million in the past six years.
The Minister has furthermore confirmed that, in line with recommendations by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, Professor Duncan Morrow will chair an independent working group to look at the scope for establishing a legal definition of ‘sectarianism’ in Scots Law - potentially making it easier for police and prosecutors to tackle the issue.
Ms Ewing commented:
“Sectarianism must be tackled with the same conviction as every other hate crime. Since 2012 we have delivered an unprecedented range of activities to tackle the issue across Scotland, which have made a significant impact and this latest funding builds on these achievements.
“We have shown sustained leadership and commitment to this agenda and look forward to working with others who can positively influence the communities they serve so that we can eradicate sectarianism once and for all.
“I thank Professor Morrow for taking forward the important work to consider the legal definition of sectarianism and I look forward to the working group’s recommendations.”
Prof Duncan Morrow added:
"The continuing SNP Government support for community-based projects is evidence of genuine commitment to tackle sectarian issues where they matter-in real lives.
"I look forward now to taking this opportunity to explore the options for improving the legal basis for protecting against sectarianism."