No to extended Sunday opening

‘KEEP the Sabbath a day of rest’.

That was the feeling of the majority of councillors attending last Tuesday’s Leisure and Environment Committee.

Members were asked for their views on extended trading hours on a Sunday.

The DSD Minister, Alex Attwood is currently consulting on a proposal to introduce some flexibility around shop opening hours to help stimulate the economy.

Most members were not in favour of any change to the trading hours, UUP councillor David Barbour said: “It’s hard to get a balance. Those who want to retain a quiet day are no longer listened to. I can’t see that shopping seven days a week can enhance any nation.”

He proposed that there should be no change to the trading hours.

His proposal was seconded by UUP councillor Robert McPherson.

DUP Alderman James McClure agreed, saying: “The Sabbath should be a day of rest. There is only a certain amount of money that can be spent.”

His party colleague, Sam Cole added: “The working class people fought for a five day week, therefore I am against any extension from both a religious and a health point of view.”

SDLP Alderman Maura Hickey had a different opinion, she said: “Sunday is a day of rest, but we have to be realistic.

“We have Sunday opening, another hour or two isn’t going to make much of a difference. I support the extension.”

Independent councillor Christine Alexander agreed: “ Opening on a Sunday already exists, and I would support the extended opening.”

On being put to a vote councillor Barbour’s proposal for no change to opening hours was carried by nine votes to three.