PEOPLE in power in Scotland don’t have the guts to stop sectarian marches, a councillor has claimed, as West Dunbartonshire bids to ask the Scottish Government to take action on bigotry.

Councillor Danny Lennie made the accusation after the council agreed a motion to write to the Scottish Government calling for anti-Catholic and anti-Irish discrimination to be tackled.

Council leader Jonathan McColl, SNP,  will also write to Scotland's 31 other councils to ask them to do the same as part of the motion lodged by Councillor Karen Conaghan.

Councillor Lennie said: “We need to tackle sectarianism – we can’t continually just sit and talk about it year after year since I was a boy.

"I’m 62. We need to get a hold of governments. Let’s go to the government and say: ‘enough is enough'.”

It is understood councillors are concerned about behaviour and the consequences caused by Orange marches in particular.

Councillor Lennie, a Labour representative for Clydebank Waterfront, said: “Look at the Civic Government Scotland Act 1982 – I ticked half a dozen things in there that would block a march right away without thinking about it.

"Does anybody block a march? No, they don’t - because they don’t have the guts to do it.”

He said “top level action” is needed.

The authority's depute provost, SNP councillor Karen Conaghan, had brought a motion to the council before the summer recess calling for more to be done to tackle sectarianism, and asked for a report on what the area's schools are doing to address the problem.

She said: “I am a realist and I’m sitting here thinking 'nobody is going to do anything because no-one is brave enough’.

"I got enough flak for bringing this to council. With a very Irish Catholic sounding name I get my fair share of flak as it is.”

An emotional Councillor Conaghan said: “The time is long past to try and do something about this. It is an issue that never seems to go away.”

The comments were made at a full West Dunbartonshire Council meeting last week when a paper on marches and education to address sectarianism and racism was brought forward.

Clydebank Central Councillor Diane Docherty, SNP, said: “We have to keep pushing. We really do. The more we talk about it, the more we change it.

“Two steps forward, one step back. Eventually one day it will be three steps forward.”

Labour councillor Douglas McAllister moved a motion for the paper to be continued and for the council to consider a response from the Scottish Government to its letter at a later meeting.

His motion was seconded by Councillor Conaghan.

Councillor McAllister said earlier in the meeting: “We have had the Hate Crime Bill through Parliament and they are too scared to do anything to tackle the blight of sectarian marches.”