THE Outer Isles Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has made its most vehement protest against CalMac for imposing Sabbath ferries on Stornoway contrary to every fair test of community opinion.
It stated: "The Presbytery wishes to record that CalMac Ferries Ltd have broken a written assurance, in 2000, to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar that Sabbath sailings would not be introduced against the Council's wishes; that these sailings were only inaugurated after the solitary Western Isles representative on the Company's Board retired in March this year; that they ignore the weight of petition evidence (3,760 island residents against Sabbath sailings, as opposed to barely 1,200 for); that the Company has refused to make public the legal advice on which it claims it is obliged to provide a 7-day service; and that the service was finally initiated after only five day's notice in July."
The Presbytery went on: "It further considers the alleged reasons for the commencement of this service to be utterly spurious and an incorrect interpretation of the law cited. It considers reprehensible the fact that commercial, social and entertainment interests appear to be shielded behind this supposed legal necessity and demand that Caledonian MacBrayne make public its legal opinion which precipitated this action.
"The Presbytery notes too, with regret, that letters of concern from the Sabbath Observance Committee of our Church in 2007 to Western Isles parliamentary representatives, Alasdair Allan MSP and Angus MacNeil MP, were not even granted the courtesy of acknowledgement."
See report in Stornoway Gazette on Thursday, September 10.