Local News for Tuesday 13th June 2017

Islands Bill published at Holyrood
An historic bill has been introduced to Parliament to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future. The Islands (Scotland) Bill published yesterday includes measures to ‘island proof’ future legislation and policies, to create a National Islands Plan and to protect the Na h-Eileanan an lar Scottish parliamentary constituency boundary. Also suggested are measures to ensure more flexibility around Councillor representation in island communities and to extend the powers of island councils where marine licencing is concerned. Presenting the bill, Islands Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This government is committed to promoting islands’ voices, to harnessing islands’ resources and enhancing their well-being. The measures in this bill underpin this ambition. In particular, the provision to ‘island-proof’ decision-making across the public sector will ensure the interests of islanders are reflected in future legislation and policy from the very outset. The Bill’s been given a welcome by Western Isles politicians, with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Cllr Roddie MacKay, saying: "This is the most significant piece of legislation for islands since the Local Government reorganization in 1974 and the establishment of islands councils. It is a significant step forward against depopulation, one of the greatest threats to our Island way of life. One of the founding tenets of OIOF was that Scotland's islands are 'special' – this is formal Government recognition confirmation of that fact.” Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan endorsed the Bill, saying: "The publication of these measures shows that the Scottish Government is serious about bringing more powers direct to island communities and making sure that national laws are workable in an island context."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 13th June 2017

Local News for Friday 9th June 2017

MP elected for Western Isles
After a tense night at Lewis Sports Centre, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil is once again MP for the Western Isles. His win in the UK Parliamentary Election, declared at 2.15am, came by a reduced margin over near rival Ealasaid MacDonald, standing for Scottish Labour. Mr MacNeil polled 6,030 votes, down from 8,662 in the 2015 General Election, while Mrs MacDonald won the support of 5,006 voters, an increase from the 4,560 given to her predecessor as Labour candidate, Alasdair Morrison. Both candidates had spoken of a welcome on the doorsteps of islanders during their campaign, which was carried out under great stress with the tragic news from Barra – Angus MacNeil’s home island and one where Ealasaid MacDonald also has family connections. The two agreed to suspend campaigning after the Manchester bombing, and there was a low-key final push for votes. Angus MacNeil has been returned to Westminster as the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency for the fourth time. The turnout was 69.73% - down by more than 3% on 2015.

Read more: Local News for Friday 9th June 2017

Local News for Thursday 8th June 2017

Polls are open
Polling Stations are now open for the casting of votes in the 2017 UK Parliamentary Election, and will stay open until 10pm. Details of where you should go to vote are on your polling card, or can be found on the Comhairle’s website. In a late change, the Polling Station for Tarbert will be in the Council Offices, Old Primary School, West Tarbert. For this election you vote for one candidate only by putting a cross in the box next to your choice. If you applied for a Postal Vote, you must return it by 10pm tonight to any Polling Station in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar Constituency or at the Election Office, Council Offices, Sandwick Road, Stornoway.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 8th June 2017

Local News for Wednesday 7th June 2017

‘Unforgettable’ experience of OneLove
An Isles FM volunteer has spoken of the ‘unforgettable’ experience of being a security worker at Sunday evening’s OneLove concert in Manchester. Fergus Marshall, of Callanish, volunteers at Isles FM during his holidays, and was a regular member of the support team when he was a pupil at the Nicolson Institute. On Sunday he was working at Old Trafford as a security officer, a part-time job he has while continuing maritime studies in Glasgow. The concert was organised by US artist Ariana Grande in memory of the 22 people who died, and others who were injured, when a bomb was detonated at the Manchester arena two weeks ago. 14-year-old Eilidh Macleod of Barra lost her life, and her friend Laura Macintyre remains seriously ill in hospital, after the atrocity. Fergus told Isles FM after the concert: “Whenever there's a tragedy in this country I love how we can all come together as one. People were so co-operative, young and old, towards security with many of them coming and shaking my hand, hugging me and thanking me for keeping them safe. I will forever remember the day that the whole country came together as one.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 7th June 2017