Local News for Tuesday 20th March 2018

Island fishing industry ‘sold out’
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has joined the First Minister in condemning what he called the UK Government's "sell-out” of Scotland's fishing industry. His comments came after yesterday’s Westminster government announcement that Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) rules will continue to apply throughout the Brexit transition period, which ends in December 2020. Dr Allan said that the decision meant island fishermen would be left with nothing from the Brexit deal, despite being promised that Britain would leave the CFP in March 2019 by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP. He said: “We know now that this was simply conjecture, and today's events give the lie to her claim that her MPs 'have the ear of government.' The CFP is something which needs fundamentally reformed, or scrapped altogether. This transition deal however delivers nothing for our island fishermen. It is shameful that at this stage of negotiations, the Tories have sold out the fishing communities here in the islands, and right across Scotland, once again."

MSP asks for protected air route
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant has asked the Scottish Government’s Transport and Islands Minister, Humza Yousaf, to respond to calls from the communities of Uist and Barra to have the air route between Benbecula and Glasgow protected by a Public Services Obligation. Mrs Grant wants Mr Yousaf to approach the European Commission to get the route protected. She said: “Travel to Benbecula can be very difficult and largely depends on the commercial decisions of the operators, presently Loganair. Island routes need to be protected as they are vital for the sustained economic development of these fragile areas. With depopulation of these islands occurring, we need to bring security and assurance to those living in the area and, equally, to those considering moving to the area.”

New ATV for Western Isles Coastguard
Western Isles Coastguard volunteers have been getting to grips with a new All Terrain Vehicle which will be based at Stornoway and made available anywhere to support operations. Yesterday it was on trial at Stornoway Airport as the first batch of operators got in training to be qualified by K38 Rescue. The team say that, by the weekend, there will be 15 qualified operators and a fully deployable asset which can be mobilised anywhere required.

Ross County Coach visit
Junior footballers will be getting a special coaching session from Ross County coach Gordon Duff this afternoon. Gordon is community manager at Ross County and his job includes helping to deliver Scottish FA initiatives in schools and clubs as well as the Scottish FA’s Coach Education Programme throughout the Highlands and Islands. Development squad sessions this evening are from 5-6pm for under 13s, 6-7pm for under 15s and 7-8pm for the under 17 squad. For younger footballers, registration has opened for the Easter Box Soccer camp, which will run over two days at Back Football and Recreation Club for P4-7 children. The dates are Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th April and the cost of the camp is £30.