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23 August 2014
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Arnish Lighthouse

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Last week I posted my third entry on the subject of the Lewis Sunday. It appears to be an emotive issue, on which people hold very strong views. That's putting it mildly, by all accounts. The invitation for me and my "heathen friends" to man the ferries, buses and shops on a Sunday was benign, in comparison to the vitriol I have seen strewn about on another messageboard, on precisely this subject. It got so nasty that the administrator of the relevant board deleted the thread concerned after repeated complaints of personal abuse.

Just want to reiterate that I respect local traditions, and (as I wrote earlier) find the quiet on a Sunday one of the pleasant features of life in the island. In my capacity as an observer, I have highlighted various points of view on this issue, for and against. My slant is probably biased in favour of establishing services. The reason is that there are glaring inconsistencies in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar policy on this issue. If someone were so inclined, they could use the European Court of Human Rights to FORCE ferries, buses and shops to operate 7 days a week. I have therefore argued for a consensus on the issue, but I am saddened to note that the probability of this would seem low.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 15:01


Its an important issue and I'm glad its being discussed online, out of the usual constrained media. It would be great if the religious dogma could be removed from the debate and the issue discussed in a clearer context.

James Morrison from Stornoway

Arnish, it's the very fact that people will be forces to provide these services that upset so many people so much! There is an equally valid case for the European Court of Human Rights to protect the islanders right to have Sundays off! It's the one day of the week when we can relax together! Can you not put yourself in the service providers shoes? Just because the rest of the world doesn't care about these workers doesn't mean we shouldn't! If the majority on the island wanted to give up Sunday Observance then that's what would happen.

Interfearing Beasom from L.A.M.E

An observer? Or perhaps ones title could be that of an "honest broker".

Expat from Away from home.

Your'e not looking for a concensus. What you're asking is a rump of Godfearing people to change the way they've lived since before buses and ferries first started plying their trades to the island. These people were here long before incomers started eroding away local values and imposing mainland customs upon them. It is good that there are still people who acknowledge a day of rest. I am not especially religious but I do respect the Lewis Sabbath and the Lewis way of life and believe me I've tried others. Lewis Sundays aren't broke as I've siad before - so there's nothing to fix.

calumannabel from Third Soapbox from the Sun, Ness

Arnish, if you read back through the comments on your Sunday blogs you will see that the majority of islanders seem to be happy with the status quo. Apart from a few mainlanders asking if people are left to die on a Sunday most people seem satisfied things as they are? I didn't see any comments from anyone demanding Sunday opening but I've only glanced back through today and may have missed it.

Causual Sunday Observer from Between Hell and a High Place near Stornoway

Treat thy neighbour as thy self isn't just a Christian commandment. You say that the point is having the services, not who is providing them... Eh? The whole point of Sunday observance is that everyone gets the day off, not just the white collar workers. That's what communities are about, caring about your neighbours as well as yourself. Some shops here do open and most of them are run by the owners but ask anyone in the COOP if they have a choice and you will get a resounding no. Same with Cal Mac, do you want to force that on your own island? The reason Arran is so tolerant, as Calumannabel says, is due to the high number of incomers moving here and buying holiday homes here, pricing the locals out of the housing market and leaving more than half the houses on the island empty for at least half the year. The situation is so bad in Lochranza that the village shop and post office had to close because there aren't enough people living in the village full time. If we didn't have Sunday sailings we could well have less people buying property on the island for the odd weekend which would bring the house prices back into a realistic field for those of us who don't earn in excess of 60K a year. If the COOP didn't open on Sunday more people might shop at their village shop. Just think twice about what you wish for.

Sunny from Nothing to do with me but putting my oar in

Can someone explain to me why, if islanders are so happy with everything being shut, the petrol station in Stornoway that does open on a Sunday is absolutely mobbed?

Austin Healey - Sprite from Stornoway

You can debate that the "Dogma" is in fact very good sense and is being belittled because the concept is held as very important by people who hold strong moral ideals. for thousands of years civiliseation accross the world, both Christians and Muslims have agreed that one day a week be laid aside for everyone to rest at the same time. The community works together and rests together. The native Lewis community have a very strong bond with their church but more to the point should thousands of years of a good idea everyone bought into be thrown away because the greedy, lazy multinationals think it should? I can live without a few services for one day so everyone can have a holiday together.

The Old Firery Cross from It's a bit hot?

I know of people who have been frowned upon because they send e-mails on a sunday! - surely what people do in the privacy of their own home on a sunday is their own business, regardless of their religous beliefs. I do all my housework on a sunday because it's the only free day I have to do it (I don't hang out my washing out of respect for my neighbours). I think a ferry journey on a sunday would be beneficial to students etc who want to return to uni etc on the mainland without paying expensive air fares or missing classes because they have to return on a monday (surely Calmac have employees from the mainland who would work on a sunday) . I understand that we are now in an age of religous tolerance to which I have no objections but surely we should be tolerant of those who chose not to follow a particular religion also.

JS from Lewis

Sunday has alwaqys been a day of rest on Lewis and I do not see why that should be changed for the minority who want it changed. On the other hand, if the shopkeepers are not religious then I see no reason why they can not open their shops on a Sunday. The more religious among us do not have to use services on Sundays.

Beannan Beag from Tolsta Chaolais

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