SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has branded CalMac’s decision to remove the ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig for five weeks as “utterly unacceptable”.

Yesterday afternoon, CalMac announced that, due to ongoing delays to the annual overhaul programme and knock-on effects to vessel deployment, all sailings between Mallaig, Oban and Lochboisdale have been cancelled from Wednesday 5th April to Saturday 13th May.

The recent charter of MV Alfred was widely regarded as welcome in order to strengthen the resilience of CalMac’s fleet. However, it seems issues with the dry dock schedule for multiple vessels have caused CalMac to have to redistribute remaining vessels throughout the network – services to Islay, Arran, Lochmaddy, Tarbert, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and the Small Isles are all also affected in the weeks ahead, though Lochboisdale will be most drastically impacted.

Yesterday evening, Alasdair Allan spoke with CalMac’s Chief Executive, Robbie Drummond, to make clear how outraged the local community are by the last-minute withdrawal of their service, right as the Easter holidays begin.

Speaking following the call, Allan commented:

“South Uist consistently suffers the highest rate of cancellations of any island community, and they have drawn the short straw yet again. Business are clear that they will not be able to weather this latest total service withdrawal without significant support, and are urging CalMac to reconsider this decision, questioning why they are unable to at least provide a weekly or bi-weekly Lochboisdale service during this disruption period.

“Given the abysmal state at present of CalMac’s service to this community, I have also requested an urgent meeting with the new Transport Minister to discuss the ramifications of today’s utterly unacceptable announcement.”



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