Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 16:29 UK

Legal opinion over Sunday sailing

Sabbatarians on Lewis said they have been given legal opinion which dismisses Calmac's view that it is obliged by law to sail on Sundays.

The ferry company believes it may be breaching the Equality Act by not running a seven day service.

But the Lord's Day Observance Society has rejected that claim after consulting Gordon Jackson QC.

Campaigners called on Calmac to back down from "destroying" the traditional Sabbath.

They said that Mr Jackson's view was that a six-day timetable did not erode an individual's human rights unless access to a ferry is denied on religious grounds.

Mr Jackson said: "If a service is being provided, for example a ferry is running on a particular date, it would be unlawful to deny that service to any person because of their religious belief or lack of it.

"Put simply, it would be unlawful to have a ferry running but deny access to, for example, a Jew or Catholic or for that matter an atheist.

"It is in my opinion an entirely different matter to decide for whatever reason that a particular service will not be provided to anyone. In that situation all are being treated equally in that no person of any belief or none can travel on the ferry."

Calmac is currently consulting community groups on the controversial introduction of Sunday sailings from Lewis.

The firm said it will not be commenting further until the consultation process is concluded.

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