Local News for Monday 12th September 2016

Community shop manager spared jail
The former manager of Uig Community Shop, Elaine Newton, has been spared a jail sentence after she embezzled nearly £20,000 from the shop and a related trust. Ms Newton was in Stornoway Sheriff court last week to hear her sentence, with Sheriff Valerie Johnston imposing a community service order for her ‘serious breach of trust’. An early guilty plea, and the fact that Newton had sold her house to repay the money, convinced the Sheriff of her remorse, but she faces prison if she doesn’t complete her community service hours. Newton has since left the island.

Ferry disruption
There’s a lot of ferry disruption this morning as wild overnight conditions and continuing strong winds hit the timetable, with several early day cancellations notified by CalMac yesterday. The first sailings on the Sound of Barra are cancelled, with a review at 8.30am, and the 8am sailing from Castlebay, 7.30am from Tarbert to Uig and the 7am from Lochboisdale to Mallaig were also cancelled. No freight service ran last night between Stornoway and Ullapool. Other services have a heightened possibility of disruption, according to CalMac. We’ll bring you any changes to services as we get them this morning. Winds are expected to be gale force through until mid-morning, with heavy rain continuing even after they ease

Read more: Local News for Monday 12th September 2016

Local News for Friday 9th September 2016

Public meeting will explain rig plans
A second public meeting explaining plans for the removal of the damaged oil rig Transocean Winner is to be held next week, according to the Secretary of State’s Representative on Maritime and Salvage issues, Hugh Shaw. The open public meeting will be next Tuesday, 13th September at 7.30pm in the Nicolson Institute Assembly Hall. Hugh Shaw will chair the meeting, with representatives from Transocean, SMIT Salvage, Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT) and Marine Scotland. Offshire Heavy Transport is providing a vessel, the OHT Hawk, which will remove the oil rig from Broad Bay as cargo. She’s currently on another mission transporting equipment to Invergordon, and is expected to arrive towards the end of the month. Tuesday’s meeting will include short presentations from all the partners, followed by a opportunity for questions from the floor. Hugh Shaw said: “It has always been our intention to keep the community informed, and this meeting is the latest opportunity to share plans with the people of the island.” Hugh Shaw will also join Annie Delin on Behind the Headlines at 4pm today, with a detailed explanation of the next steps in the rig’s repair and removal.

Read more: Local News for Friday 9th September 2016

Local News for Thursday 8th September 2016

UK Government inquiry into rig grounding
The UK Government’s Transport Select Committee is to carry out an inquiry into the grounding of the oil rig Transocean Winner, which ran aground on rocks in Dalmore last month. Following a request from Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, the committee chair, Louise Ellman MP, will ask rig owners Transocean to attend a Committee Hearing. The inquiry will be a single oral evidence session, with no timetable yet set for when it will happen. Mr MacNeil said: “Questions need to be answered such as: what risk assessment was carried out prior to the moving of this rig? And,  given the severe weather warnings, why was the rig exposed to the full force of the Atlantic gale? I also hope that the Transport Select Committee will focus on the MCA refusing to have another tug in Stornoway. The recent justification given by the MCA cites evidence taken earlier this year, before the Transocean Winner went on the rocks.  We are talking of a five-year timeline and we know full well that an incident such as the Transocean Winner is a one in twenty or fifty year event”.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 8th September 2016

Local News for Wednesday 7th September 2016

Second sale set to top the first
Booking has closed early for the second livestock sale of the year at Lewis and Harris Auction Marts, due to higher demand than expected. The news comes after the first sale, on Wednesday August 24th, saw price increases in line with reported good prices at other centres. On the day, auctioneers from Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd put 3,342 store lambs and sheep under the hammer, with an excellent show of quality. Prices were significantly up on last year, with the average lamb price up by £4.63 on the same sale last year. The top lamb price was £64.50, achieved by Murray of 9 Back.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 7th September 2016

Local News for Tuesday 6th September 2016

Emergency Tug decision ‘will not rest’
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has ruled out a second emergency towing vessel based in Scotland, it was announced yesterday. The decision’s been greeted with dismay in the Western Isles, after a 1500 signature petition was presented and politicians of all parties emphasised the role a second tug would have in protecting West Coast waters. Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan said: "If the oil rig going aground in Lewis does not illustrate to the UK government the dangers of not having any emergency towing vessel available on the west coast, I don’t know what will. It is deeply disappointing that reports are that the MCA have again ruled out reinstating this vessel. However inexplicable, it seems they are content with the idea that one vessel can answer incidents anywhere on Scotland’s vast coastline. This matter will not rest".

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 6th September 2016