“Racism continues to be swept under the carpet,” Celtic Supporter’s Open Letter to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

Jerry Woods, author of the wonderful Celtic book to Lisbon and Back on a Fiver, has this morning sent an open letter to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and has requested that we publish this on The Celtic Star so as to allow as many Celtic Supporters the opportunity to read the letter and perhaps for some to follow Jerry’s lead and contract either the First Minister or your local MSP on this matter.

We have also included numerous social media posts on this subject after the disgraceful scenes ahead of yesterday’s Glasgow Derby at Ibrox. Many of those who took part in that walk will be included within this photograph…

Dear Ms Sturgeon

I am a proud Scot.

My political perspective is irrelevant, however in the spirit of transparency I am a supporter of Scottish Independence.

As indicated, I am a proud Scot, but also one of Irish descent. This heritage is equally important to me.

My grandfather was an Irish immigrant from County Kerry. He was never formally educated and could neither read or write.

He settled in Fife and had 15 children. All his sons worked in the coalfields of Fife and two of them tragically lost their lives at an early age as a result of accidents in the pit.

My father (Patrick Woods) was born in County Leitrim in Ireland, was orphaned as a child and eventually settled in Methil, Fife where he raised a family of five children with my mother (one of the aforementioned 15).

All these people were hard working individuals who contributed to Scottish society. As examples, my sister has a MBE for services to education and my late brother (Michael Woods) was a SNP Councillor in Fife for many years.

My wife and I raised our children to respect others.

All 3 of my children have worked within public services and have contributed to civic society in Scotland throughout their working lives.

Along with many members of my family, I have experienced anti Catholic/anti Irish abuse and discrimination throughout my life, including in the workplace.

The point I’m trying to make is that my family have assimilated into Scottish Society and have contributed significantly to it.

Why therefore do I still feel that my family and me are still effectively made to feel like second class citizens in our own country?

I am now 77 years of age and sadly Scotland has not progressed in any way in dealing with Anti Irish/ Catholic abuse throughout these years.

Following the events in Glasgow and across Scotland over the previous months and years, culminating yesterday in disgusting racist and religious discrimination I can be silent on this matter no longer.

I believe we are beyond the point where individuals are singled out for prosecution. I am fed up hearing about a minority. This is not a minority involvement and there needs to be a different approach.

I would like to know what the Scottish Government, Judiciary and Police intend to do to tackle this issue. Sadly I fear it will be more platitudes that take us nowhere.

In closing I would point out that Scots of Irish Catholic descent are here to stay. They have and continue to add more to Scottish society than small minded bigots who live in the past and continue to show Scotland as a nation where such racism continues to be swept under the carpet.

Jerry Woods

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. It will condemned by every politician and public figure and then by next week be forgotten about until the next time Glasgow city centre is host to these bigots then we will get the same spiel again. Last weekend the disgusting scenes on the supporters bus were acted upon right away and 2 people were arrested and charged. Am i being cynical in saying the reason for the swift action on last weekend’s display because the victim was Japanese and not Irish and will be shown round the world and Scotland’s ministers and top police will be embarrassed by this? It looks plain and simple to me the Irish in Scotland do not count they never have and never will. I was lucky enough to move to Canada and escape it, my kids can have Irish names and go to catholic school here and do not have to worry about about being in the wrong place at the wrong time wearing their Celtic tops or coming out of mass to orange walks passing by hurling abuse at them and the priest conducting the service.

  2. Catherine Mc donald on

    Whats the point , I am 75 years old and for the longest part of my 75 years I have been called a Fenian B—–d its been the norm , theres always a fuss by the politicians after one of these avents then as always it all calms down untill the next time , the buck stops with Nicola Sturgent , I am an Independant supporter , but its time Nicola stopped all these sectarian marches and the clubs need to ban these bigots for life it wont change there attitude but at least the rest of us public citizens wont have to enjure this bile and hatred anymore ,Nicola your dreams and them that follow after you can forget about Independence because you need our votes as well as the rest of scotland

  3. A Manager from a city steeped in Irish connection who remains silent on this issue this bile alll emanates from the intolerance of this club he manages to anything regarding Celtics Irish roots Stephen Gerrard and the Rangers board must call this out for what it is RACISM no sitting on the fence.