Additional funding has been allocated for clearing sectarian and anti-vax graffiti after a spate of local incidents.
Last week we told how vile sectarian slurs had been sprayed on the side of Dumbarton’s Denny Tank Museum, with anti-vax graffiti also spotted in Bonhill and at Clydebank’s Hub vaccination centre.
That prompted action from councillors, who unanimously agreed to a Labor motion that will see £15,000 allocated to the swift removal of offensive graffiti in evenings and weekends.
The motion, introduced by Councilor John Mooney, reads: “Council is very concerned about the recent spate of sectarian graffiti in the area.
“The recent conflation with anti-vax sentiment at the Hub in Clydebank, which is a vaccination centre, is particularly worrying.
“The Council has a responsibility to remove such offensive graffiti as quickly as possible.
“In order to facilitate speedy removal in future, Council agrees to allocate £15k from free reserves to the anti-social behavior (ASB) budget for emergency removal of offensive graffiti in the evenings and at weekends.
“Council also agrees that these funds be used to cover the costs of any additional call-out charges.”
Backing the calls, council leader Jonathan McColl slammed those responsible – and highlighted the dangers of anti-vax messaging.
He said: “Some of the graffiti that we’ve seen recently has been absolutely abhorrent. I would characterize it as being insidious, and it causes extreme distress in some cases.
“The anti-vax messages are not only distressing. They are downright dangerous. They feed into the online paranoia we see.
“We need to get these messages down as quickly as possible.”
Speaking to his motion, Councilor Mooney said: “This anti-vax sentiment coming in was particularly worrying.
“We don’t actually have the resources, the antisocial behavior budget is fully allocated, so we don’t have the additional resources to go out immediately and remove graffiti.
“Graffiti of that sort is not just unsightly, it’s not just criminal damage. It’s actually profoundly disturbing to people. I would class it as antisocial behavior on a grand scale.
“To see anti-vax messages and those with a very consistent anti-catholic trope was absolutely disgusting and appalling. It’s the sort of thing that simply must be removed immediately.”
Whilst Dumbarton councilor Karen Conaghan, of the SNP, added: “We had yet another spate of disgusting vandalism sprayed on the Denny Tank museum in Dumbarton.
“It was anti-Irish as well as sectarian with the usual slur, which is quite upsetting for a number of people.
“In addition to that there were anti-vax messages sprayed in Bonhill.
“While these things are removed very quickly by our teams, there is definitely a need to get that removed quickly over the weekend.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.