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SNP criticised as Dundee woman in Catholic comments row confirmed as council candidate

Siobhan Tolland has been confirmed as an SNP candidate in Lochee.
Siobhan Tolland has been confirmed as an SNP candidate in Lochee.

The SNP has been criticised after a woman caught up in an “anti-Catholic” comments storm was confirmed as a candidate for the council elections in May.

Siobhan Tolland is on the list as one of the party’s candidates in the Lochee ward.

The party was urged to reconsider her suitability for public office after comments she made in 2010 were uncovered.

Ms Tolland had taken to Facebook after travelling to Edinburgh to tell friends she had a “sore throat” after shouting at Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Edinburgh.

In a second post, Ms Tolland said she had “got a chance to tell him he should be arrested for child abuse”, but said she “might have gone a wee bit too far when she called him a c***”.

Michael Marra MSP
Michael Marra with sister Jenny, a former MSP.

Scottish Labour MSP Michael Marra was joined by the Tories and Lib Dems in calling for action over the comments, which were branded anti-Catholic by one campaign group.

Mr Marra, who represents North East Scotland at Holyrood and is currently a councillor for Lochee, has hit out again at the SNP after Ms Tolland’s selection was confirmed.

He said he was “deeply disappointed” that the SNP had “dug in to nominate a candidate with such an appalling record of vile abuse”.

Comments criticised by campaign group

He added: “They should have risen to the first minister’s rhetoric of responsibility but they have failed. Their political interests matter more to them than the people.”

A Dundee SNP spokesman said: “Ms Tolland has deleted and apologised for these posts from 12 years ago, which she deeply regrets.

“These do not accurately reflect her views and as someone raised as a Catholic herself, she very much regrets offence caused.”

When news of Ms Tolland running for election first came to light, the SNP questioned whether Mr Marra’s comments meant he condoned child abuse in the Catholic church.

Those comments were criticised by campaign group Call It Out, which said it was “akin to requiring all Muslims to take responsibility for Islamic extremist terror attacks or requiring all Jews to take responsibility for the actions of the state of Israel”.

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