HIAL PRESSED BY MSP OVER STORNOWAY AIRPORT CAFÉ
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan asked HIAL why it has taken so long to get any catering facilities back up and running in Stornoway airport since the previous café closed in March. It is understood that the service will now be up and running at some point in August.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan said: “While travelling back and fore between home and Holyrood each week, I have received many comments about the lack of any catering facilities in Stornoway airport. These have been closed for over three months now.
HIAL have told me that it has been challenging trying to attract a suitable candidate to operate the catering facility, but that they have now secured a suitable vendor. They hope to be up and running again by mid-August if not before.
I can appreciate the difficulties involved, and welcome the progress now made, but it is disappointing that we have gone virtually a whole tourist season now in this regrettable situation.”
Read more: Local News fr Wednesday 10th July 2019
CALL FOR ACTION ON CREW CRISIS FACING FISHING FLEET
Following a recent Maritime Safety drive, SNP MP Angus MacNeil called for the UK Government to finally act on the crew shortage crisis facing the West Coast fishing fleet which is a key safety issue.
At a parliamentary meeting with Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP, Mr MacNeil said ensuring access to a skilled crew was paramount to safety at sea and urged the UK Government to allow skippers to recruit crew from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) as they did in the past.
Currently many boats are tied up due to a lack of suitable crew meaning loss of earnings and a knock on effect on local economies.
The Maritime Minister announced an additional £700,000 for training and safety equipment on fishing boats.
This is on top of an existing £250,000 pot, which is matched by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Mr MacNeil said: “There is a united voice on this from the Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Western Isles Fisherman’s Association and it is about time that the UK Government listened.
Read more: Local News for Monday 15th July 2019
DIGITISATION OF 30-YEAR OLD GAELIC NEW TESTAMENT READING
Tape recordings of the Gaelic New Testament being read by members of a Lewis congregation around 30 years ago are to be digitised, cleaned up and preserved for all time, thanks to support from Point and Sandwick Trust (PST).
Bòrd na Gàidhlig awarded the project £3,200 from its Community Roots Support fund, and the community wind farm charity donated the remaining £1,800 needed. The project has been organised by David Murray, the session clerk to Garrabost Free Church.
The readings were done by members of the congregation of Knock Free Church, now merged with Garrabost Free Church, in the 1980s and recorded on a series of 17 tapes. The sound files will be made widely available online – and hopefully on CDs – once the digitisation project is complete.
Donald John MacSween, General Manager of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: ‘This is a project of immense cultural importance to our Gaelic community and the recordings, once digitised, will be of huge value to those Gaelic speakers who can no longer get out to church or who are unable to read their own Gaelic Bibles. These recordings are community treasures.’
Read more: Local News for Tuesday 16th July 2019
ISLES MP STANDS UP FOR REFUGEES IN PARLIAMENT
Recently in Parliament, Isles MP Angus B MacNeil led calls for the Tory government to urgently reform refugee family union rules to ensure that vulnerable people with close relatives in the UK have safe and legal pathways to reunite with them.
Mr MacNeil led a debate in the House of Commons and also hosted a reception in Parliament in partnership with charity Play for Progress which supports unaccompanied child refugees through therapy, music and the arts. The reception was sponsored by Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd and the Association of Exiled Scots.
During the debate, Mr MacNeil called on the UK Government to back his Private Member’s Bill that, if passed, would allow child refugees in the UK to sponsor their close family to come to the UK; expand the qualification criteria so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents qualify; and, reintroduce legal aid so refugees have the support they need to navigate the legal system.
Despite the UK government’s opposition, the Bill passed its Second Reading with cross-party support.
The Refugee Council, the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty UK and the British Red Cross are amongst a number of agencies that back the Isles MP’s Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill.
Read more: Local News for Friday 12th July 2019