THE Orange Order has been given an ultimatum to re-route its marches away from catholic churches or the council will do it for them.

In a strongly worded message to the Grand Orange Lodge, Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, has told the organisation to take responsibility for the behaviour of followers of its parades following an attack on a priest in the east end last weekend.

She said the public mood has reached “tipping point” with followers of the Orange walks and warned the lodges it can no longer absolve itself of responsibility for “anti-catholic” hate crime.

Ms Aitken held meetings this week with police and council officials to discus possible action to prevent a repeat of the incident where Canon Tom White of St Alphonsus, in Calton was spat on, lunged at by a man with a baton, and called “fenian scum” and “paedophile” by followers of the Orange Parade in the city.

Ms Aitken said: “In the coming weeks and months several more parades are scheduled to pass St Alphonsus’ Church in the east end. If the organisers had any self-awareness they would re-route and avoid local potential flashpoint.

“I hope they voluntarily agree it is unacceptable for them to continue to pass these places of worship. If they do not, Glasgow City Council will insist.”

She said while Orange lodge members may not be involved in these incidents the organisation must take responsibility for those it attracts and whose support it recognizes.

Ms Aitken, added: “It’s simply not enough to absolve themselves by pointing to hangers-on.

“They need to step up and take wider responsibility for those they attract and refer to as their wider support and networks when it suits. What happens on your watch, happens on your watch.”

Ms Aitken also suggested to MSPs calling for the council to ban marches to examine their own role in the legislative process.

She added: “Parliamentarians too might want to ask themselves whether they are satisfied the laws they put in place are fit for purpose. I have urged them to do just that.”

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, will meet with the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, following the attack.

Mr Yousaf invited representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss their concerns.

A Church spokesman said: “This is a welcome opportunity to discuss the issue of safety and the right of Catholics to be protected from violence, aggression and intimidation during the so-called marching season and also wider issues of anti-Catholic hate crime which continues to dominate religiously aggravated offending in Scotland.”

The Evening Times contacted the Grand Orang Lodge of Scotland for comment but no-one was available to respond.