SIC attempts to curb religious input

SHETLAND Islands Council has appointed three representatives from religious organisations to its education committee but is asking them not to take up the post.

The decision can be regarded as a major success for councillor Jonathan Wills whose attempts to block such appointments at the previous council fell repeatedly on deaf ears.

On Wednesday, his motion was seconded by Drew Ratter and adopted unanimously.

Dr Wills described the law that required the local authority to appoint religious representatives to an elected body as “medieval” and proposed to meet with religious leaders in a forum rather than in a council committee.

He said: “I think this would be good for the religious communities in Shetland. It would also be good for the council to hear their views.

“This is not against any of the people involved or against religion, but in favour of democracy,” he said.

He was supported by political leader Gary Robinson who described the requirement as “archaic” and revealed that he was in discussions with fellow conveners in the Highlands and Islands about how to pursue this on the political level.

It is now up to the Reverend Tom Macintyre of the Church of Scotland, Radina MacKay  of the Shetland Inter Faith Group, and Martin Tregonning of the Shetland Churches Trust whether they want to attend the next meeting of the education and families committee after the summer recess.