Local News for Thursday 16th June 2016

Syrian refugees ‘will arrive this summer’
Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell has confirmed that Syrian families will arrive in the Western Isles over the summer months, with plans in hand for two related families to be housed around Stornoway. Cllr Campbell chose the week of the Refugee Festival Scotland to confirm the plan. The theme for this week’s festival is solidarity and Gary Christie from the Scottish Refugee Council said: "Now, more than ever, we need to stand together with people who've had to flee their homes and are now trying to build new lives here." Comhairle leader Angus Campbell told planning partners and councillors: "By the time we met again in September the Outer Hebrides will have welcomed Syrian families to be resettled in our community". He promised more information over the next few weeks.  Local agencies have been working hard to make the arrival of families as discreet and smooth as possible for the families, who will be supported where necessary but also given the space that they need to re-adjust to family life here in the Outer Hebrides. Cllr Campbell said he was "confident that as a community we will be welcoming and compassionate and allow the families the scope they will need to resettle within our islands."

Read more: Local News for Thursday 16th June 2016

Local News for Wednesday 15th June 2016

Crofting – urgent change needed
The Comhairle's Crofting Joint Consultative Committee has called for urgent legislative change in crofting matters, after a meeting this week with the Convenor, Chief Executive and local commissioner from the Crofting Commission. Colin Kennedy, , Catriona Maclean and local Commissioner, Murdo MacLennan met the committee to discuss issues relating to Common Grazings and wider Crofting matters.  Chair Cllr Uisdean Robertson said the meeting was productive and that many issues were debated at length, concluding with key points including that  Common Grazings Committees are allowed to retain appropriate funds to carry out planned works on common grazings. This is an important clarification from the commission and will help reassure common grazings committees. All present agreed that legislative change is urgently required and the Comhairle will work through committees and other forums to address the issues as a matter of urgency.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 15th June 2016

Local News for Tuesday 14th June 2016

World record holder comes to Shawbost
World record goal-scorer and legendary shinty player Ronald Ross is expected at Shawbost on Saturday, and may make a pitch appearance playing for the mighty Kingussie against Lewis Camanachd. Ronald Ross has scored more goals than any player in any team sport, over 1000, and holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records proving his leading status in sport. He’s coming to Lewis as manager of Kingussie for the second round Strathdearn Cup match against Lewis. He could be forced to play due to team injuries and, if so, Lewis Camanachd spokesman Iain Diablo Sinclair says it will be an exceptional treat for sports enthusiasts. He said: “He’s a legend in sport, and it will be worth turning out for Saturday’s match to see him even if you don’t know shinty.” There’s already news that some islanders are intending to return home from as far away as Glasgow to witness the historic clash.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 14th June 2016

Local News for Monday 13th June 2016

Two hospitalised after electrocution
Two people were taken to hospital yesterday afternoon, after being electrocuted while moving their boat on the jetty at Ardhasaig in Harris. The man and wife were moving the vessel when it struck power lines, and Coastguard volunteer teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were called out to help ambulance crews move the pair, who were conscious, and secure the vessel. The couple were taken onwards to Western Isles Hospital by ambulance, and a team of engineers from SSE were called to make the area safe.

Read more: Local News for Monday 13th June 2016

Local News for Friday 10th June 2016

Hebrides recognised as Scottish – 750 years ago
A speech to the Scottish parliament in Norwegian yesterday commemorated the date when the Hebrides were acknowledged to be part of Scotland, 750 years ago. The speech was made by Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan to commemorate the Western Isles’ Viking links and mark the anniversary of the Treaty of Perth, between Magnus VI of Norway and Alexander III of Scotland.  It was a first for the Scottish Parliament, in that Dr Allan delivered his speech in Norwegian, although he admitted that his Norwegian was ‘hesitant’. Dr Allan was participating in a member's debate, initiated by Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser. He said: “As an admirer of Norway, and a hesitant learner of Norwegian, this seemed like the perfectly opportunity to deliver the first Norwegian speech of the modern Scottish Parliament. The Western Isles were the central issue in the Treaty of Perth. “Innse Gall", one of the Gaelic names for the Western Isles, means ‘the isles of the strangers’ and refers to the fact that the strangers – a euphemism for Vikings – had exerted political control over the islands until the treaty. While the Treaty ended Norse rule over the Hebrides, as we know, it did not sever the many connections that exist between the two places. This was a very welcome opportunity to celebrate the long, productive and very amicable relationship between Scotland and Norway, and in particular, to commemorate the islands’ central place in the story of Scotland.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 10th June 2016