Belfast City Council has turned down an attempt to scrap Northern Ireland’s Sunday trading laws, according to the Christian Institute (CI).
Sinn Fein councillor Conor Maskey had lobbied the council to support total deregulation, in response to the launch of a consultation from Stormont on whether Sunday trading hours should be extended.
The consultation had been brought about after Usdaw, the shop-workers’ union, carried out a survey that revealed 73 per cent of members were opposed to Sunday trading hours being extended.
The effect on family life was cited as the major cause of concern among union members. John Hannett, Usdaw general-secretary, said, ‘For many of our members, Sunday is the only day of the week when they get any quality time to spend with their families’.
In its response, the CI submitted its own response to the consultation, which said, ‘There are already five hours in which to shop on Sundays, so to privilege the minority who want even more time to shop, over the many who want to enjoy their legitimate religious liberties, is incompatible with a tolerant society’.