Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 8th July 2020


Alasdair Allan MSP has written to John Swinney, the Minister for Gaelic, expressing his concerns about the language’s future in island communities.

‘The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Communities’, published last week, assesses language usage where Gaelic is spoken as a community language. The research calls for a review of public planning and policy..

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“This new research presents a stark picture of Gaelic’s future in our communities and it is important that we take the time and energy to fully consider its analysis. The message of the report is challenging, and at times painful, for Gaelic speakers.

I have written to John Swinney, the Minister with responsibility for Gaelic. Going forward, we must make every effort to engage all sides of the debate to move to solve this crisis collectively. The Gaelic language, and the culture and identity which it underpins are of irreplaceable importance to the Western Isles and Scotland more widely. We cannot afford to fail our last remaining Gaelic-speaking communities.”


In this week’s Statement, by Council Leader at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Roddy Mackay, A number of ongoing developments meetings were outlined

The council met virtually with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and the Islands Minister, regarding the Islands Deal, the Islands Act and Transport. There were also meetings with the UK Government Energy Minister regarding the Interconnector and Energy issues.

The new Economic Recovery Strategy was launched last week. The strategy aspires to ‘reimagine and reform the economy of the Outer Hebrides’ by helping to create strong and resilient communities where community capacity and wealth is built up and where there is a focus on the green economy and digital inclusion.

The back to School plan in August included an appreciation of the work done during lockdown, by education staff including teachers, support for learning assistants, education apprentices, nursery workers, admin, janitorial, catering and cleaning staff.

Further meetings discussed the challenges of the islands inevitably opening up, to families coming and going, key workers moving about and holiday visitors arriving.

The Leader Roddy Mackay urges members of the public “Let’s ensure that we maintain common sense and wise decision making, for as long as the potential remains for COVID to spread.

It will unquestionably be good for families and friends to reconnect and for all of us to re-establish a degree of social interaction which is an essential part of normal living, and also for people to get back to work “



Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has appealed to the Scottish Government to focus on supporting the Health Boards in Scotland, to address the backlog in operations that has accrued due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Cameron said; “The fall in the number of operations is startling. ““It is inevitably that a huge backlog has built up while NHS staff have focused on the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s absolutely essential that the Scottish Government now prioritises, organising the resources to address this backlog before it develops into a health emergency.


Three Royal Navy patrol boats will visit the Western Isles as part of their summer deployment.
The 20 metres long, Archer Class P2000 patrol boats ships – HMS Biter, HMS Charger and HMS Express will spending a fortnight training on the west coast at various small harbours and lochs allowing their crews to practice seamanship and navigation skills.
They boats are due to berth at Stornoway and Lochboisdale next week.
Captain Chris Smith, naval regional commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “It is great to be able to bring the Royal Navy near to some of our smaller communities which, because of harbour size, don’t usually get a visit from our ships. Usually we would be hosting visits from local groups and organisations while alongside but, with the current situation, this is unfortunately not possible.
"We hope to engage with local organisations across social media and using new technologies, and if people spot them in their area do give them a wave.


On Thursday Taigh Cèilidh a’ Mhòid from An Comunn Gaidhealach, will take place at 8.30pm and will feature Mod Gold Medallists from 2000-2009.This is live on Royal National Mod Facebook Page

On Friday Calum Martin and Family will be providing this week’s Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ceilidh on at 9pm.
On Saturday the ceilidh features singer song writer Willie Campbell at 9pm. Live on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Facebook Page.