Angus Nicolson has blogged a copy of What the Chairman wrote… – the letter from the Chairman of CalMac to the Chief Executive of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar on the matter of the Sunday Ferry! It outlines CalMac’s position after seeking legal advice following correspondence from the Equality & Human Rights Commission in respect of the Equalities Act 2006 (Wikipedia definition). The position is that…
…our policy of withholding ferry services, out of respect for the beliefs of a section of the population of Lewis and Harris, is indeed unlawful, and we feel we therefore have no option but to seek a way of complying with the terms of the Act, while at the same time acknowledging the sensitivities which exist.
I don’t think it takes any real thought to divine that denying access to an essential service is a breach of human rights. So it is no surprise that complaints have been made with reference to the Equalities Act 2006 (link to the act itself). There can be no argument that it is wrong for one part of a community to seek to impose it’s will upon the rest of that community and to deny people something that is already available not only to the UK mainland but also to some parts of the Western Isles – i.e. unrestricted travel 7 days a week.
The same argument applies to the matter of access to the Sports Centre and Golf Course on a Sunday. Denying access for all to these services because of the religious belief of some is a breach of the Equalities Act!