- Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 07:30
Ministers in islands
The Western Isles continue to host visits from Ministers in the Scottish Government today, following a Cabinet Meeting and Independence Q&A in Stornoway yesterday. Among yesterday’s engagements, Minister for Sport Shona Robison was at Back Football Club officially opening the improved pitch, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was at Melbost Farm cutting the first turf for stage two of a social housing development and First Minister Alex Salmond was allowed to drive a digger at the site of the new Harbour Development on South Beach. The Cabinet heard from Comhairle Chief Executive Malcolm Burr that there were issues unique to the islands which needed to be addressed in the pre-Referendum debate – including energy connectivity and the use of funds from Crown Estates. Wide-ranging questions from an audience in Stornoway Town Hall included issues about discrimination and equal opportunity for women, about the place of religious belief and Church representation in the State, and about Europe. Today the First Minister is to attend an event commemorating the Iolaire disaster.
HebCelt early appeal
Hebridean Celtic Festival organisers have issued their earliest ever appeal for accommodation for some of the thousands of visitors expected to attend this year’s Festival. With three months still to go, accommodation in Stornoway is already under pressure for the week of HebCelt, which runs from 16th to 19th July. So far this year, nearly 80 per cent of all sales are off-island, with tickets being bought by fans from as far afield as New Zealand, the Far East, Canada, US and all around Europe. Last year HebCelt attracted an audience of 16,000 – double the population of Stornoway. Alastair Lockett of VisitScotland said: “Most of the accommodation in Stornoway is already full for festival week. I would definitely say that bookings have been made about a month earlier than usual. We are expecting further enquiries as the event gets nearer and we need help from local people to ensure everyone is found a bed. If anyone is able to offer good quality accommodation between 16th -19th July, please contact the VisitScotland Information Centre, on Cromwell St, Stornoway or phone 01851 703088.”