Catholic church calls for Dallas to be sacked!


The Catholic Church in Scotland has officially written to SFA chief Stewart Regan and demanded that controversial Referee chief Hugh Dallas be sacked after he sent an email on the day of the Pope’s visit last September insinuating that His Holiness was a danger to children.

The letter was faxed and emailed to Hampden Park today, 24th November 2010.  A scanned copy of the letter can be viewed on this site.

Letter from Catholic Church in Scotland to SFASpeaking exclusively to this journalist Peter Kearney, the head of communications, for the Catholic Church in Scotland said:

“I was shocked but not surprised when I read that insulting email about the Pope had allegedly been sent by a senior SFA official on the day the Pope visited Scotland.

I consider this email to be unprofessional, gratuitously insulting to the Pope, deeply offensive to the Catholic community of Scotland, and an incitement to anti-Catholic

Anti Catholic bigotry in Scotland is not the widespread problem it once was but background bigotry still exists.

Too many people still think it is acceptable to insult and demean Catholics in a way that they would never consider with other faiths.”

Kearney was unequivocal about what should happen to Hugh Dallas.

If it is proved that the email concerned was sent by the Head of Referee
Development at the SFA he must be removed from his post.”

Kearney also took aim at the SFA for the time the internal inquiry had taken:

“ Frankly the fact that the matter has not been conclusively resolved by now undermines the integrity and credibility of the SFA. Regardless of the outcome in this
particular case, the ability of the SFA to campaign against sectarianism in
football is severely undermined by this episode.
To retain any credibility in this area the SFA must act urgently, to:
investigate fully the allegation being made, divulge completely the results
of their investigation and then act very firmly to reject all allegations
that they have fostered or tolerated anti-Catholic bigotry.”

On the subject of how widespread sectarianism he said:

“Some commentators try to dismiss the problem of sectarianism by saying that
‘one side is as bad as the other’ or it is no more than drink fuelled post
match rivalry. An analysis of Crown Office statistics between June 2003 and
September 2004 of Section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003,
which allowed for an offence to be proved to have been aggravated by
religious prejudice showed that 450 charges were submitted to Procurators
Fiscal. Of these cases, 108 were analysed in detail by the Crown Office to
provide qualitative information on the implementation of the legislation.
The study discovered that 29% of cases were of anti-Protestantism and 63% of
cases were of anti-Catholicism, interestingly, only 14% of incidents were
football related with a further 15% being linked to parades or marches.

It is a fact that most incidents relate to breach of the peace and not
assault. However we should be disinclined to minimise the impact on
individuals who suffer verbal abuse during a breach of the peace incident in
this way. Such verbal assaults can often be the precursor to actual physical
attacks and must therefore be treated with the utmost seriousness.
It is also accurate to point out that police officers were victims in 36%
of cases. Equally however, we must point out that in 64% of cases, they were
not. In the same vein, while in 49% of cases, alcohol is a factor that still
means that in most cases it wasn’t. Furthermore, it may be the case that
alcohol features in many other crime statistics but I don’t think its
presence should be allowed to minimise in any way the actions of those, so

Also, while it is technically correct to point out that the religious
identity of the victims is not known (nor do we know if the religious
identity they ascribe to themselves would accord with that used by any
Christian denominations) it seems clear that the underlying motivation in
each instance is either anti-Catholic or anti-Protestant.

With this in mind, and in view of the fact that in 63% of the cases,
offenders are targeting Catholicism, I’d incline to the view, that what we
are presented with is an appalling and dismal image of entrenched hostility.

I am not convinced that we can attribute a religious affiliation to the
perpetrators based on their targets and certainly the data does not
support this, although it seems self evident that sectarian violence whether
verbal or physical would be unlikely to emanate from anyone with genuinely
religious convictions.

The most instructive use of these statistics is to express incidents as so
many per 100,000 of the relevant population. Out of 110 incidents where
section 74 of the Criminal Justice Scotland Act 2003 was applicable, 31
(29%) are described as targeting Protestants and 68 (63%) as targeting
Catholics. If we assume that the population of Scotland is as close to 5
million as makes no difference, then there are around 850,000 (17%)
Catholics and 2,450,000 (49%) Protestants in the population.

This means there are 8 abuses of Catholics per 100,000 of Catholic
population and 1.3 abuses of Protestants per 100,000 of Protestant
population. Hence a Catholic is over 6 times more likely to be abused than a
Protestant.  Sectarianism in Scotland is deeper, wider and altogether more
pervasive than often reported. A further study in 2006 of “aggravated
sectarianism” data reached the same conclusion.

Still some may ask on a day-to-day basis are Catholics really excluded from
any walk of life. The answer is simply “yes”; by law no Catholic may become
Head of State or marry the Head of State. With royal wedding fever in the
air, we’d do well to remember that state sponsored sectarianism in the form
of the Act of Settlement is still on the statute books. Until we accept the
depth, nature and extent of the problem we cannot realistically expect to be
able to tackle it.”

This journalist has learned that Stewart Regan is furious with SFA staff for not keeping him in the loop on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th as the SFA were being contacted by journalists about the existence of the “Dallas email”.

The first that the SFA knew that the Dallas email was “out there” was when I had called their media department just after 14.00hrs on Thursday the 4th.

I had wanted a comment from the SFA and in doing so, of course, informed them that I knew of the email’s existence.

I was able, in that conversation, to tell the SFA media spokesperson the date, time and title of the email and describe the email’s jpeg attachment including the title of the jpeg.

As I was describing the Jpeg as best I could the press officer cut across me:

“It’s ok I’ve seen it.”

I then asked:

“Has this email been getting passed around the office from computer to computer?”

He went silent, considering what he had just admitted On The Record to a journalist.

“No! No, not at all!”

I have to take him at his word, but from what this SFA employee told me there was at least two in the building that had seen this jpeg “joke” about His Holiness. Being a threat to children.

SFA insiders have since told me that that a decision was taken to tell Dallas to head off for a few days with his wife till the media storm blew over.

I understand that Regan was not party to this media strategy and was furious when he learned of the incident on Sunday after the story had been broken on this site.

I was told:

“Regan has made up his mind that he needs a total clear out of the old guard at the SFA. The Dallas email and how it was handled was the last straw.”

It remains to be seen if Stewart Regan will be successful in clearing out the sectarian old guard from the SFA.

I contacted Piara Powar head of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), which is a network of publicly funded organisations, which seeks to stamp out racism and bigotry in football.

After reading the reportage of the Dallas email story and looking at the email itself he had this to say:

“The FARE network deplores all manifestations of sectarianism, however trivial they may seem, or whatever the motivation. Sport, and football in particular, have too long been areas through which hatred of another because of religious or ethnic background has been played out.

“The fact that this email seems to have originated from the heart of the SFA administration is not an indication of institutional tolerance and appreciation of diversity. It is our hope therefore that the SFA moves quickly to demonstrate that institutional sectarianism and bigotry is not part of their decision making, or that of any SFA staff.”

Regular visitors to this site will know that leading Scottish Catholic and internationally acclaimed classical music composer James MacMillan has also called for Dallas to be sacked.

So far Dallas has resisted any calls for his head. Despite the story breaking three weeks ago he has yet to emerge and make a statement about this story.

Now with the Catholic Church in Scotland now officially calling for Dallas to go it is difficult to see how he can hang onto his job for much longer.

33 thoughts on “Catholic church calls for Dallas to be sacked!

  1. Peter Kearney

    In response to the qs: “Is a Catholic more likely to perpetrate a sectarian crime in Scotland than a Protestant?” – I am not convinced that we can attribute a religious affiliation to the perpetrators based on their ‘targets’ and certainly the data does not support this, although it seems self evident that sectarian violence whether verbal or physical would be unlikely to emanate from anyone with genuinely religious convictions. Accordingly it is not possible to conclude that ‘two-thirds of the perpetrators were probably Protestant and one third probably Catholic’ or that this approximates to the religious demographic in Glasgow. It is crucial that we remember, that these are national statistics (albeit over 50% of the incidents took place in Glasgow), therefore any analysis of them must be on a national basis.

  2. JohnnyMac

    By using your crazy arithmetic and logic, if was asume that those carrying out abuse of Catholics are Protestants and those who abuse Protestants are Catholics then Catholics are 1.3 times more likely to carry out abuse of Protestants than the other way round.

  3. John

    lets look at some facts, there was a game at Celtic park where a thug tried to give Hugh Dallas a serious injury, He was doing his job and being assaulted, there was no reason for this whatsoever, Celtic were well beaten that particular night, just because the Celtic team were rubbish that night, a thug decided to have a go at a man who was doing his job.

    Not only that , his family were threatened and windows were smashed at his family home .

    The email was bad i admit it, but what this man had to go through for doing his job, makes the email look trivial.

    1. Martibhoy

      Another lying bigot gone, the Huns support group is getting culled by the day.

      Dallas sectarian bigot gone………
      Dougie Dougie, Lying sectarian bigot gone………
      Peat, lying, sectarian bigot, who likes a certain bookie, will be next 🙂
      Happy Days, a level playing field wont be far away, at this rate.
      Thanks for all your cracking work Phil.
      Keep it up Phil.

  4. Paolo

    Phil, as an irishman you should be looking at your own countries issues regarding high profile people, i seem to remember Sinead O’Connor , actually burning pictures of the holy father, and yet i have no doubt people in Ireland still listen to her records.

  5. Kevin

    Isn’t the greater problem here that our Pope held a position of authority at a time when children were being attacked by members of the Church and he failed to act? I don’t believe that we do ourselves any favours by protecting child mollesters.

    I find it incredible that we are calling for someone to be sacked for sending an offensive email about this. I’ve just googled and seen the image that everyone is talking about and think those who haven’t seen it should do the same. We want someone to lose their job for making a joke about someone who, when presented with priests who had abused children, didn’t sack them.

    It is time for us to wake up and recognise the terrible damage this his done to our Church. I pray for every child who has suffered at the hands of those who should have protected and guided them.

  6. barney

    No mistake Dallas was stupid to send the email, for a man in his position he should have considered what people may find itoffensive. However the hype that this is some sort of sectarian attack is absolute tosh. The email implied that children are not safe as the pope is in town. Which is a sick reference to the fact that thousands of Children have been raped abused and mentally tortured by catholic priests for decades. Crimes that the Catholic Church has tried to cover up for years and for which the priests guilty of these crimes are in the main free in the communities, ready to strike at any time. The cover up goes to the top of the church, but who is calling for the head of the church to be sacked? These crimes are not restricted to the Catholic Church as it seems there so many that get to a position of trust then abuse it. The email in question could be offensive to the kids that have been abused but is a reminder to us all of the thousands of victims that have not seen justice.

    The SFA have stood up to the plate and sacked Dallas for sending an email, what should happen to people that have abuse kids?

    So is Dallas a Bigot, he might be, but not based on the email he sent.

  7. Peter Kearney

    In response to the question; “where are the stats Peter Kearney refers to?”

    The report I used for my analysis is a Scottish Governement publication,
    Use of Section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003

    It is available for download here:!KS35*LqcGJ8qES!qy0RbY8xfH7u1BTkrLf7jH3TbNys_?action=search&q=aggravated%20sectarianism%20statistics&b=10&$rcexpanded=false

    1. Billy

      Simple question Peter, do the statistics you used contain the fact that a Catholic is more likely to perpetrate a Sectarian crime in Scotland than a Protestant ? A simple yes or no will suffice.


    Phil can you tell me what you feel is the greater sin. Is it to forward an inapproptiate email about the pope or is it to sweep under the carpet the abuse inflicted on innocent children by catholic Priests.

  9. Reason

    Free Church of Scotland

    Priests, Paedophiles and Protestants
    David Robertson

    25 April 2002

    Certainly there is a problem with the Catholic teaching about clergy celibacy – (we will come to that later) but the notion that it is this teaching that explains the current news re paedophilic priests is trite and indeed dangerous. Consider the following.

    1) Most American churches being accused of child sexual abuse are Protestant. Over the past ten years an average of 70 churches per week have been accused of child abuse.

    2) It is not just Roman Catholic clergy who are involved in this. For example the Episcopal Church in the US has the same proportion of child sex scandals as the Catholic – yet it allows its priests to be married and to have children. Furthermore, according to Leadership Journal, there a number of prominent Protestant churches in the Midwest and South who are currently facing accusations of criminal sexual conduct.

    more at:

  10. john

    Can anyone confirm if the RC Church have dismissed all those members of the clergy found to have been involved, both as perpetrators and in covering up their actions, in the abuse of children over the years? Or is the sending of a joke email the greater crime?

  11. Reason

    In simple terms, many Catholics take their religion seriously, they take the crimes which were committed by members of the clergy very seriously. To trivialise such matters is crass to both the victims, and the hundreds of millions of Catholics throughout the world. The football issue is peripheral to this, as it is a far more serious and wider issue. No-one, in any capacity should think that these ‘jokes’ are morally acceptable. For a high profile person such as the head of footballing referees for our country to condone such an attitude is frankly disgusting.

  12. Maggie

    Let’s all be horrified that someone had a wee pop at the pope.(OH THE HORROR !!!!)
    But we’ve all to forget about the thousands of people who have been abused by the catholic church.
    The Catholic Church – OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING
    Get a grip.

  13. Donnie

    The e-mail in question is in very bad taste,maybe libellous but in what way is it sectarian? It is insulting the Pointiff,yes,but it is not insulting his religion.

  14. JPC

    Can anyone please direct me to the research paper that Peter Kearney refers to analysing these prosecutions. As Rabbie Burns said, facts are chiels that winna ding and downa be disputed.

  15. anthony kirkpatrick

    If this indeed the case about dallas then he should not be alowd to quit his post he should be sacked,this and only this action would prove on some grounds that the sfa are indeed takeing some steps (small ones) to stamp out the anty chatholic cloak and dagger goings on at the sfa.

  16. Donald

    Carslberg don’t portray themselves as bigoted, sectarian neanderthals BUT, if they did, they’d portray themselves as bigoted, sectarian SFA neanderthals.

  17. Leighton

    How pathetic can you get rather than supporting victims of abuse and their families and ensure no other priests are abusing children they are spending their time getting involved in petty squabbles that have nothing to do with church. As an Atheist I find the hypocrisy of this racist, homophobic and sexist medieval institution beyond contempt.

  18. hey joe

    Im really glad the church has stood up and been counted here,if this had been about any other religious group the investigation would have been complete by now.

    I would also urge more Celtic supporting Catholics to show their appreciation for this statement to spend an hour of their week a wee bit more often at mass.

  19. Tony Cassidy

    fair enough, Phil, fair enough

    but as a Catholic, we MUST follow the command of Christ at all times….LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU

    please keep that in mind, difficult tho it may sound

    from an avid Celtic fan living in Glasgow whose mother is from Donegal

    fidelity to Christ is paramount….His Holiness himself would be one of the first to say so

    thanks for your efforts….we MUST pray for Shug and G Peat and all that mob

  20. Pat

    Phil you are fast becoming a favourite Hack of mine
    Not because of who you are going after,but becauase of the courage and determination you have shown,to see that these storys arn’t buried
    For too long the Scottish Media have sat and sain nothing.
    you have put them all to shame
    Regards Pat

  21. bigpaul

    The pressure is mounting. Good article Phil, the SFA need to resolve this unless they already have ” Goodfellas” style as Dallas has disappeared off the face of the planet.


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