News - Naidheachdan

25 May 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan and Angus Brendan MacNeil, who served as the local MP in the last UK Parliament, have expressed their sorrow, following confirmation that 14 year-old Eilidh MacLeod from the Isle of Barra died in Monday night’s attack in Manchester.

At 11am today, the Scottish Parliament will observe one minute’s silence to remember all those who died in the attack, including Eilidh. Eilidh’s friend Laura MacIntyre, also from Barra, is being treated in a Manchester hospital.

Alasdair Allan said:

“The island of Barra has had to face an unimaginable tragedy today, as news is confirmed that Eilidh MacLeod died as a result of the appalling crime in Manchester.

“I cannot begin to imagine the devastating consequences this will have for her family, and can only offer my condolences, which I know will be joined by expressions of sympathy from Manchester and from around the world. The news comes as Eilidh's friend Laura Macintyre is in hospital in Manchester.

“Anyone who knows Barra, will have some idea of the kind of impact this is going to have on a small island community. I know people will be keeping both families in their thoughts and prayers.”

Angus Brendan MacNeil said:

“We are all simply heartbroken and thankful for the kind thoughts of so many people across the islands and beyond.”


18 May 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the Isle of Eriskay being chosen as one of two places in Scotland for a scheme to trial fibre broadband over long distances.

The technology, known as Long Reach VDSL, was previously trialled in North Tolsta last year by BT Openreach. Broadband speeds reduce significantly the further away households are from the nearest cabinet and this technology aims to address this challenge.  
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“This technology has obvious implications for the rollout of superfast broadband across the Western Isles. It’s good news that Eriskay is one of the first communities to take part in this commercial pilot.

“Despite the fact that broadband is an issue reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has invested a huge amount of money in ensuring Superfast Broadband reaches the Hebrides. HIE now believe that 76% of island properties should be able to access fibre by the end of the year.

“While progress that has been made, I am regularly contacted by constituents who are frustrated with their current internet speeds or who live in an area which has been upgraded but they find themselves more than a mile away from the cabinet.

“If successful, I hope this technology can help other communities across the Isles access the superfast broadband they so critically need.” 


02 May 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan today spoke to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, following the fire that devastated the Scalpay net washing factory at the weekend.  He impressed on HIE the need to do everything possible to keep the 14 local jobs within the Harris economy.

The fire started on Friday afternoon and raged into Sunday. The building is currently owned by Net Services Scotland.

As well as thousands of pounds worth of netting being lost, the Gaelic voluntary organisation Fèis Eilean na Hearadh also lost all of their musical instruments, which were being stored in the factory at the time.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“We should all be thankful that no-one was hurt in this incident and I am grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Police for their handling of the situation.

“I was in Harris speaking to people over the weekend and there is now real concern over the future of jobs in the area.

“I spoke on the phone earlier to HIE interim Chief Executive Charlotte Write to emphasise the importance of making sure that these local jobs are secured if at all possible. I will also be seeking to contact the company themselves to offer assistance in this.  Fourteen jobs represent a very significant part of the economy in Harris, and are a vital contribution to the community in Scalpay itself.”

Angus MacNeil MP commented:

“My thoughts are with the affected staff and the wider community at this time.

“I trust HIE will be supporting the company and their staff in securing a way forward. This incident has had implications for community groups in Harris and I am sure that the wider island community will rally round to support them at this time.”

02 May 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the news that Seafood Scotland has been awarded almost £1 million of EU funding to showcase Scottish produce at international trade shows.

Support in the latest round of the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund will enable industry body Seafood Scotland to exhibit in seven trade shows around the globe over the next 12 months.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“This funding boost is very welcome for the seafood industry across the Western Isles. It will allow Seafood Scotland to raise awareness and enhance the already considerable global profile of the overall Scottish Seafood industry, while helping individual businesses to expand into new markets and increase consumer awareness of their fine products.

“This is just one of many examples which highlight the importance of EU funding to the Western Isles, and for the seafood sector across Scotland. Scotland’s fishing industry is a vital part of the country’s rural economy, with the overall fishing fleet generating £437 million last year.

“The Western Isles seafood industry contributes considerably to Scotland’s national exports, so it is vital that our EU funding is protected. This new round of funding clearly illustrates the crucial importance to Scotland of the European marketplace, and the opportunities to expand our local businesses and grow our rural economy EU membership provides."


28 April 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday recorded an introduction as part of for a new digital recreation of St Kilda.

St Kilda has painstaking recreated on the best-selling videogame Minecraft as part of Scotland-wide World Heritage Day celebrations. This will give gamers the opportunity to explore the archipelago with ever having to step foot there. It will also form part of the learning resources available in both English and Gaelic to Scotland’s schools.

The map features abandoned houses and boats and will cover six stories, ranging from a kidnapped and incarcerated noblewoman to an archaeological dig. Players will be able to travel from site to site and “unlock” these tales, voiced by volunteers such as Alasdair Allan.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“While I have to admit not having being the most avid Minecraft gamer, I am very impressed by how accurately the team behind the project have recreated St Kilda.

“This project offers an excellent opportunity for people of all ages around Scotland to learn more about St. Kilda and discover remote and difficult to access parts of our country through technology and digital engagement.

“St Kilda is a vitally important part of our island heritage and it’s great to see such innovative ways of allowing people to share in it.” 


26 April 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that 29 families across the crofting counties have been awarded money from this year's Croft House Grant Scheme.

The Scheme enables crofters to build or improve homes. Since 2007, over £16 million of grant payments have been awarded to over 800 crofters to help build or improve their homes. Crofters in the Western Isles are eligible for the upper grant of £38,000.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“It is very welcome news indeed that 29 families are set to benefit from the Croft House Grant Scheme. This follows the Scottish Government committing to put a further £600,000 into the scheme this year.

“Earlier this month myself and my colleague Angus MacNeil MP met with Fergus Ewing MSP to discuss the scheme. We discussed concerns about the current restrictions, the amount of money available and conveyed many of the complaints we had received from individual crofters. I was greatly encouraged by the Cabinet Secretary’s response to this and his willingness to review the current criteria.

“The Croft House Grant scheme is an important method of retaining families in the isles and keeping people in crofting and yesterday's announcement will make a real difference to the families receiving a grant.”


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