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Scots move to snare St Patrick

Talks between Scotland and Ireland on mounting a joint bid to stage the Euro 2008 soccer festival could be wrecked by an overzealous Scots council who believe St Patrick belongs to them.

West Dunbartonshire are hoping to hijack Ireland's patron with the claim that the beloved saint was born near Old Kilpatrick, making him a Scot by birth.

Those behind the move see their actions as a sporting and cultural 'hands across the sea' gesture. They are also counting on it as a major tourism boost for the area, bringing the possibility of more than 6000 jobs.

The man with the vision behind the move is council leader Danny McCafferty who believes the projects being planned could rival the best attractions in Britain.

Talks are underway to link the alleged birth place of St Patrick with an unexcavated Roman fort that is believed to have a connection with the crucifixion.

But villagers in Old Kilpatrick have their reservations and don't want to see their village turned into an Irish theme park.

One villager who did not want to be named made the point: 'Bringing trade and jobs to the area would be very welcome but we would never get away with pinching St Patrick from the Irish - and they will not share him. Anyone who believes we could do that has been drinking too much Guinness.'

The Universe

21 Oct 2002