Local News for Tuesday 20th September 2016

“Let fishing boats go to sea” – MP
Three fishing boats are currently tied up in Barra due to lack of crew, and Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil wants to keep them at sea rather than tied up at the harbour. Mr MacNeil has called for action from the UK Government as many skippers in Scotland are facing major difficulties in finding crew. In the past they have looked outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to fill the gaps in labour, but this has been made increasingly difficult by UK visa and immigration requirements. Mr MacNeil said: “A local firm had hoped to welcome two new crew members last week but hit another stumbling block when the workers were declined entry to the UK and sent home. Many skippers along the west coast, particularly in the prawn and white fish sectors, have had to tie up boats as they cannot crew them. This has knock on effects for the local economy, especially in onshore supporting industries. A solution to this issue was identified – the reintroduction of a scheme for sourcing temporary labour from out with the EEC, as is being introduced in the Republic of Ireland. After Brexit there was a lot of talk of taking control but fishermen are finding that they have no control and this is a problem with the UK Government.” Mr MacNeil has written to Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill MP, on this matter and awaits an early response.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 20th September 2016

Local News for Monday 19th September 2016

CalMac asked to help sports clubs
A Stornoway Councillor has asked CalMac to consider supporting island sports clubs which travel to the mainland for tournments, matches and competitions. Cllr Gordon Murray has asked CalMac Chief Executive Martin Dorchester to look into the issue, after learning that the ferry company had supported other worthy causes such as the Royal National Mòd, being held in the Western Isles next month. Cllr Murray said “I have asked that CalMac consider the many sports clubs and organisations that travel to the mainland on the ferry. As clubs and organisations become more and more successful, costs rise and I would like to ask Caledonian Macbrayne to look at helping these organisations compete on the mainland stage."

Read more: Local News for Monday 19th September 2016

Local News for Friday 16th September 2016

Life on Mars from rocks in Barra
The possibility of life on Mars could be proved by the composition of rocks in Barra and the Uists, according to university researchers from Aberdeen, Canada and the US. The research team have published a paper in the journal Astrobiology which says that ‘Marsquakes’ identified on the red planet could lead to the formation of life-supporting hydrogen. Rocks in Barra and Uist show that hydrogen is formed after earthquakes, the same conditions that could exist up there. The new discoveries are being used to support a NASA mission to Mars, due in 2018.

Read more: Local News for Friday 16th September 2016

Local News for Wednesday 14th September 2016

Royal National Mòd – one month to go
It’s just one month today until the Royal National Mòd comes to Stornoway, bringing Gaeldom’s premier festival of culture to the Western Isles. The opening ceremony will feature headline performances by Dàimh and the Mischa Macpherson Trio.  Before they perform, the town centre will light up with a torchlight procession, led by the Lewis Pipe Band, with hundreds of people expected to make the procession to Lewis Sports Centre, where the opening ceremony takes place. Coming to Stornoway for the first time since 2011, the event will see nine days of Gaelic music, arts and sport from Friday 14th – Saturday 22nd October.The Mòd is the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland, with thousands of competitors from across the world in over 200 competitions in highland dancing, sport, literature and drama, as well as Gaelic music and song. The Mòd Fringe will also run a bustling programme of music, poetry and art forms of every description. John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said; “The Western Isles has always given The Mòd a warm welcome, so we’re thrilled to be returning after five years. We’ve received a tremendous amount of entries for this year’s competitions and we know there will be some amazing talent to see.” Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Convener and Chair of the Mod nan Eilean Siar local organising committee, Norman A MacDonald, said: “We are confident that we have everything in place to host a highly successful Mòd. It is, of course, highly appropriate that the Mòd should return to the Western Isles. Gaelic is still the community language of the Islands and I would reiterate that Mòd attendees are assured of a genuine Hebridean welcome.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 14th September 2016

Local News for Tuesday 13th September 2016

Police news
A man is to appear in court today after being stopped by police on the road between Leurbost and Stornoway at 11.50am yesterday and tested for drink driving. He was found to be over the limit and has been kept in custody until today’s court appearance.

A 20-year-old man pleaded not guilty in court yesterday after being arrested at 2.15am on Saturday, during a disturbance at Ross Terrace in Stornoway. He’s charged with domestic assault and breach of the peace, and will now re-appear in court at a later date.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 13th September 2016