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Why this priest keeps his doors locked

Just minutes from Glasgow city centre, sectarianism thrives, writes Thomas Quinn. Even when relaxing in his armchair while watching TV in the first-floor living room of the rambling priest’s house, Father Stephen Dunn can be reminded of just how hostile some members of the community are towards his faith.

‘I can be sitting here in an evening and someone will shout up “Away ye Fenian bastard, we don’t want you here”,’ he says, his voice rising with as much exasperation as indignation. ‘Almost all the glass in these windows is Perspex now because over the years they’ve thrown stones up and smashed them. The door gets battered and kicked quite a lot, and the week I arrived here Rangers had lost some European match, so someone ran two coins along the length of my car. If we have a funeral here on a Saturday afternoon we have to hire security just to be sure the hearse isn’t damaged.’

Dunn’s parish, the Sacred Heart, is barely a five-minute drive away from Glasgow’s increasingly glamorous city centre. But Bridgeton Cross seems to belong to a bygone era. In 1888, when he was deputy head of the Sacred Heart primary school nearby, a Marist Brother, Walfrid, founded Celtic Football Club, initially as a charity to help poor Irish immigrants. But in the late 19th century this area was also settled by working class Protestant immigrants from Northern Ireland, and its traditions, including Orange marches, continue.

Full story at The Observer.

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