Update: see comments, especially Tony Sidaway’s @ 10, for context that makes sense of this.
An item from the Independent more than two years ago. It’s more than a little unnverving.
A man who used a social networking website to post sectarian comments about Catholics and Celtic supporters has been jailed for eight months.
Stephen Birrell, 28, from Glasgow, was also handed a five-year football banning order at Glasgow Sheriff Court for writing the comments on a Facebook page titled Neil Lennon Should Be Banned.
He admitted writing the religiously and racially motivated comments between February 28 and March 8 this year.
Sentencing him, Sheriff Bill Totten said the courts had to send “a clear message to deter others who might be tempted to behave in this way”.
One of the comments, posted a day before a Celtic v Rangers game on March 2 this year, read: “Hope they all die. Simple. Catholic scumbags ha ha.”
Two days after the match, he wrote: “Proud to hate Fenian tattie farmers.”
Ok I know – because I was schooled about it here by commenters in the past – that Glasgow has a big problem with sectarian hatred and violence that plays out as football rivalry. But…eight months in jail for that?
The sheriff told Birrell that he had escaped a longer sentence because his comments hadn’t made specific threats against individuals.
But he said he wanted to “send a clear message that the right-thinking people of Glasgow and Scotland will not allow any behaviour of this nature, or allow any place in our society for hate crimes”.
He said: “The use of modern communications to spread or support abuse or target groups of people because of their ethnic or racial background has no place in our modern society and has no place in genuine support for any football club.”