A LOCAL group campaigning for women to be allowed to go out guizing at Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa has said it will consider its options after being told by the festival’s committee that a possible meeting to discuss the controversial issue would not happen any time soon.
Up Helly Aa for Aa had written to the Up Helly Aa committee last week after the festival’s secretary Robert Geddes appeared to say during an interview on local radio that talks might be a possibility.
However, he did not specify whether these would be talks with the various groups that make up the Up Helly Aa community, or a dialogue with those demanding change to the rules on who goes out guizing.
“There is something there I think to have a sensible discussion, but I think everybody needs to come round the table and accept that there are going to be different views,” he told Radio Shetland on 25 January.
His comments came after equality campaigner Peter Hamilton staged a silent vigil outside Lerwick Town Hall in protest of the council’s support for a community event that he says discriminates against women.
Debra Nicolson of Up Helly Aa for Aa said the group had written to Geddes asking for an early meeting.
The group has also been in touch with mediation specialists at Market House to draw in special skills to help conduct any such talks.
On Thursday Nicolson said she had received a response from Geddes which appeared to quash any hopes for an early meeting.
Geddes wrote: “I have noted your request, and we will bring this to the next meeting of the committee. At this point there is no date for the next meeting, but I will be in touch when it happens.”
Nicolson said she was disappointed with response and would now consult with group members as to their next move.
She also said a number of younger women had expressed the wish to be part of a squad and added that she hopes they could be part of any talks that might take place.
Robert Geddes did not respond to numerous attempts by Shetland News to contact him this week.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 540 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News