Local News for Tuesday 6th June 2017

Hurry up for HebCelt
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is urging people coming to Stornoway for the HebCelt Festival in July to book their ferry travel as soon as possible. Extra sailings on the peak day for travel, Sunday July 23rd, are already booking up fast, and although cars, caravans and motorbikes always need to book, it’s now looking like even foot passenger tickets could be snapped up fast. Stornoway port manager Iain Don Maciver said: "We strongly encourage those planning to journey to and from Stornoway for the weekend of HebCelt, including foot passengers, to book their ferry slots as soon as possible. Sunday is a particularly busy day with festival goers making their way home and it will be essential to have a valid booking for vehicles and passengers that day. Tickets can be booked online at www.calmac.co.uk – the reservations should be made as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Foot passengers are used to being able to turn up on the day without booking, but our message to them, particularly on the Sunday, is that this approach is unlikely to work and they may well find themselves disappointed."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 6th June 2017

Local News Update for Monday 5th June 2017

Eilidh at rest at her island home
Barra teenager Eilidh Macleod has been laid to rest in the churchyard at Vatersay, where she grew up for the first 12 years of her short life. 14-year-old Eilidh died two weeks ago in the Manchester arena bombing, where her friend Laura Macintyre was also seriously injured.

Eilidh’s funeral today at the church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Castlebay was attended by over 1,000 people, including government ministers, police and local authority representatives, schoolfriends and fellow musicians. Eilidh’s casket was carried to the church by family members, led by her father Roddy Macleod, followed by her mother Marion and two sisters, and preceded by a lone piper. A requiem mass for the repose of her soul was then said by parish priest and family friend Father John Paul Mackinnon.

Read more: Local News Update for Monday 5th June 2017

Local News for Monday 5th June 2017

Island falls silent in grief
The Island of Barra falls silent today as the family and friends of Eilidh Macleod gather to mourn the loss of a young life cut cruelly short just two weeks ago. 14-year-old Eilidh was one of the last victims of the Manchester bombing to be named and she is the first to be laid to rest. Bereft parents Roddy and Marion travelled with her remains from Manchester yesterday, the tiny plane landing on Traigh Mhor at lunchtime, met and blessed by parish priest Father John Paul Mackinnon. Airport firefighters were among those who lifted her casket, draped in the green flag of Barra, and carried it to the hearse to be driven home to Castlebay. Ahead walked piper Duncan Nicholson, son of Eilidh’s piping tutor Donald Patrick Nicolson, playing slow airs that Eilidh, a keen piper, had been learning.

Read more: Local News for Monday 5th June 2017

Local News for Friday 2nd June 2017

Councillors ‘not unethical’ in Sunday opening vote
The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland has not upheld a complaint against seven Western Isles councillors in connection with the decision not to open Lewis Sports Centre on a Sunday. The complaint was made on behalf of the Families Into Sport and Health (FiSH) group, and alleged a contravention of the Councillors' Code of Conduct. FISH suggested that, at a meeting of the full Council on 5th October 2016, the seven failed to declare a non-financial interest, namely their membership of church organisations. Their religious beliefs were said to have influenced them to vote against Sunday opening of the Sports Centre. The full council that day agreed by a majority of 19 to nine not to proceed with Sunday opening.  The Councillors concerned said that they voted against Sunday opening for a number of reasons, including the Chief Executive’s recommendation and the views of their constituents..The Commissioner found that insufficient evidence had been presented to show that they acted in accordance with their own religious beliefs or that their decisions were determined by their membership of a religious organisation. He concluded: “My conclusion is therefore that the allegations outlined in the complaint did not involve a breach of the Councillors' Code of Conduct."

Read more: Local News for Friday 2nd June 2017

Local News for Thursday 1st June 2017

SNP will not campaign in Uist and Barra
Election posters have been taken down in Uist and Barra, after the local SNP branch decided to end campaigning for the rest of the pre-election period. SNP candidate Angus MacNeil is a Barra native, and closely connected with the families of Eilidh Macleod, who died following last week's bomb atrocity in Manchester, and her friend Laura Macintyre, who remains seriously ill in hospital. The Convener of the Uist and Barra branch of the SNP, Michael A MacLeod, said that the branch had decided to permanently discontinue General Election campaigning, 'In light of the recent tragic events in Manchester, following consultation with local activists and other political parties.'

Read more: Local News for Thursday 1st June 2017