We should be at level zero, says council leader

The Western Isles should be at "level one or zero according to the data they rely so much upon", said Comhairle leader, Roddie Mackay on Wednesday.

By Brian Wilson
Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:46 am
An Eathar Coastal Rowing Club on Loch Seaforth.
An Eathar Coastal Rowing Club on Loch Seaforth.

He said that the opening up of travel to and from the islands from Saturday is "not a win but the Scottish Government sorting out their own confusion".

Councillor Mackay said that talks had gone on until late on Monday after Ministers had offered islands councils a 'binary choice" - either open up and keep the same level of restrictions as the mainland or else stay closed and move to a lower level. However, he said that this binary choice was irrational and had caused "consternation and confusion".

He said that the islands councils were now advancing to the Scottish Government the same argument of "proportionality" as used by churches in the Court of Session to overturn a ban on worship. "The restrictions they are imposing on the islands are disproportionate to the data," he said. "There is enormous economic damage being done yet the data clearly says we should be moving to level one or zero according to the data they rely so much upon".

Sign up to our daily Stornoway Gazette Today newsletter

The islands councils will continue to work together to argue with Ministers for recognition of island circumstances. In the meantime however, most island businesses, including hospitality and leisure activities, will stay closed in line with mainland restrictions.

Last month, Lord Baird found that to criminalise church worship during lockdown “disproportionately infringed” human rights.