During the Transport Minister’s visit to Tarbert yesterday, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, chaired a meeting between the Minister, the Comhairle, and Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil. Discussions about issues facing islands ferry services were wide-ranging and constructive.
Allan set out the concerns of local communities on the need for greater capacity on the network while Uig’s harbour is out of action from October to March, and stressed the need for there to be a resolution on the current competition between islanders and tourists for places on ferry services, particularly throughout the summer months.
Allan also highlighted the need to identify new tonnage and to charter additional vessels as a matter of urgency, as well as reiterating his call for islanders to have reserved seats on CalMac’s boards.
Following the meeting, Allan commented:
“I am very grateful to Jenny Gilruth for accepting my invitation to visit the Western Isles this week, and for her willingness to listen to the concerns of our island communities and to engage positively with these.
“This meeting was an excellent opportunity to work cooperatively with the Comhairle to ensure that the key points about the transport challenges facing the Western Isles were clearly communicated.
“The lack of reliability and resilience in our ferry services continues to have a significant impact on individuals and local businesses, and I welcome the Transport Minister’s commitment for CalMac and the Scottish Government to listen fully to concerns and to do better for our islands.”