Local News for Monday 9th October 2017

Lifeboat launched to creel-tangled vessel
Stornoway RNLI lifeboat was launched at 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon to the aid of the locally-registered fishing vessel Siarach III, which had called in for help after becoming tangled in creels off the Lochs shore. The Siarach was about 10 miles south of Stornoway and was towed back in by the RNLI crew, who were back on station by 6pm.

Comhairle’s attitude to ferry fares ‘grossly unfair’
A vote by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar against the reintroduction of concessionary ferry fares on the Sound of Barr and Sound of Harris has been called ‘grossly unfair’ by residents of Barra. At last week’s full Council meeting, members were asked to support the reintroduction of concessionary fares by Cllrs Donald Manford and Calum MacMillan, councillors for Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay and South Uist. The proposal was rejected by 19 votes to nine. An editorial in the community newspaper Guth Bharraidh said: “While the attitude of Comhairle towards the islands of the south of the Western Isles is felt to be grossly unfair, what is arguably of more concern and alarm is the reasoning why the fares support should be denied: that the prices are so low as to be unworthy of support and that it was the public that decided that the concessionary fares be cut. The price of bus fares in the Western Isles range from £6 down to 90p on some Stornoway routes. The ferry prices are between £3 and £8. It would be unforgivable if the Western Isles councillors consider suggesting that bus concessionary fares are so low as to be undeserving of support!”

When will all homes get superfast broadband?
Islands MSP Alasdair Allan has been discussing plans for the further roll-out of superfast fibre broadband with Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP with approximately 75% of the Western Isles now connected through 166 new cabinets. With the programme due to end in March next year, a new initiative called Reaching 100% (R100) is currently being worked on. Dr Allan said: “Around three quarters of properties now have access to superfast broadband. This would not have been possible without public intervention. However, people who the rollout has not yet reached are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to get superfast and I will continue to push for more information on this. I think the next stage of procurement needs to ensure that those without internet, or with extremely slow speeds, are prioritised. The Scottish Government has given a commitment that 100% of properties across Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021.”

People power win for Back
Back Primary School have won a complete set of team sportswear, after island votes carried them into the lead in a social media competition. Back were one of 12 primary schools from all over Scotland shortlisted by Colin Campbell Sports of Edinburgh in the competition, and stormed through as winners with 832 votes from their supporters. The school will now be proud recipients of a set of personalised Macron Andromeda match kit.