Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Sunday Golf Ban To Cost Golf Club?

The headline caught the eye "Sunday golf ban could cost island course £75,000 grant" followed by the problems being outlined relating to The Isle of Harris golf course's application for £75,000 of public money.

Apparently the application may be rejected because the club is closed every Sunday on religious grounds in line with other public facilities on the island and neighbouring Lewis.
It appears that the national sports agency, SportScotland, says giving taxpayers' money to the organisation could contravene equality legislation because of its refusal to open on the Sabbath.

According to The Scotsman, Louise Martin, who chairs the body, said: "SportScotland is mindful of the views and traditions held by many in parts of the Western Isles regarding the opening of sports facilities on Sundays. However, SportScotland also has responsibilities under the 2006 equality legislation to ensure that anything it funds is accessible to all, wherever possible, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief …"

Now this may or may not be a real issue rather than one which the journalist sees an angle on but I have not heard any major threats being applied to a rather more famous golf course that closes on Sundays for other traditional reasons. Surely all the golf club need to do is suggest that it needs to close on Sundays in order to rest the course?

This is not about getting into any arguments about religious observance or even the tourism benefits of being open and available for play it is just about recognising that there is perhaps precedence for receiving public funds and not being open seven days a week.

The money sought from sportscotland represents half the £155,000 cost of improvements to drainage, storage and the clubhouse and the other parterns involved Highland and Islands Enterprise and Western Isles Council, the other funders, are not insisting on seven-day opening.
Some common sense surely from SportScotland?

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