Local News for Wednesday 11th May 2016

Calling all pipers
The deadline for pipers wishing to compete in October’s Royal National Mòd is closer than you think, on Friday 8th July. The Mòd’s to be held in the Western Isles for the sixth time this year, and junior and senior piping competitions will take place at Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula on Saturday 15th October. Pauline Craib, secretary for the Uist and Barra Piping group said, “Uist has a proud piping history and there is a wealth of talented young pipers throughout the islands, so it is fitting that the Mòd 2016 piping competitions return here.” Both senior and juniors entries for any piping competitions must be submitted to An Comunn Gàidhealach by Friday 8th July 2016 and entries can be submitted online at: www.ancomunn.co.uk An entry form can also be downloaded from the website and entered by post.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 11th May 2016

Local News for Tuesday 10th May 2016

Mòd committee in full swing
The local committee for Mòd nan Eilean Siar is planning a full schedule of events in the lead up to October, when the Royal National Mòd will descend upon the Western Isles. The Mòd  is the premier festival of Gaelic language and culture, and will be held in the Western Isles between the 14th and the 22nd of October. A detailed plan of upcoming fundraising events aims to raise money to ensure it’s the best event ever hedl in the Western Isles. Convener of the local committee, Norman A MacDonald, said: "It is highly appropriate that the Mod should return to the Western Isles as the whole ethos and thrust of the Mod is to showcase and celebrate our rich language and culture. Gaelic is still the community language of the Islands and Mod attendees are assured of a genuine Hebridean welcome in Stornoway this year."  The committee hope that local communities will support fundraising events in the lead up to the Mod, which begin on Saturday 21st May with a bingo night in Clan MacQuarrie Hall at 7:30pm.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 10th May 2016

Local News for Monday 9th May 2016

‘Reinstate grazings committee’ call
There’s been a call for the Crofting Commission to reinstate all members of the Mangersta grazings committee, after the former tenant whose activities led to the disbandment of the committee withdrew all of his financial claims. The un-named individual had sought a share of grants paid to the village  while he was an absentee tenant between 1994 and 2012. This weekend he wrote to the former Grazings Clerk, saying that he was withdrawing  “any and all claims … with immediate effect”. The former committee’s legal adviser, Brian Inkster, has now written to the Crofting Commission informing them of the development and asking them to reinstate the Grazings Committee and clerk without delay.  The committee themselves issued a statement saying: “We welcome the withdrawal of these demands and sincerely hope it will bring all of this to an end. We repeat our call for an inquiry into the workings of the Crofting Commission and particularly the guidance they have sent out, in response to events in Mangersta and Upper Coll, on financial management by Grazings Committees”.

Read more: Local News for Monday 9th May 2016

Local News for Friday 6th May 2016

Allan claims third term as Isles MSP
The SNP’s Alasdair Allan claimed his third term as Member of the Scottish Parliament for na h-Eileanan an Iar, in a result delared around 3am this morning at Lewis Sports Centre, after a smooth-running count. The local result mirrored national SNP success, but Dr Allan’s result was down by 13.3% on his 2011 win, with 6,874 votes cast for him this year. Rhoda Grant claimed second place for Scottish Labour with 26% of the votes, 3,378. The surprise of the night was the number of votes polled by new Scottish Conservative candidate Ranald Fraser, of Tolsta Chaolais, who tripled the 2011 result with 1,499 votes, 11% of the votes cast. Following the result he declared it ‘the best result ever for island Conservatives in a Scottish Parliament election.” The Christian party’s John Cormack, who was not at the count, polled 1,162 votes, 9% and Scottish Lib-Dem candidate Kenneth Macleod had the support of just 293 voters, 2% of the electorate, losing his deposit. The total turnout was 61% in the islands.

Read more: Local News for Friday 6th May 2016

Local News for Thursday 5th May 2016

The polls are open
47 polling stations around the Western Isles are now open for voters in the Scottish Parliamentary Election. The polling places range from community halls to a bowling club and will remain open until 10pm today. Voters will be asked to cast two votes, one for a constituency MSP for na h-Eileanan an Iar, and one to decide who will be the list representatives for the Highlands and Islands. Once polls close tonight, counting begins at Lewis Sports Centre, where an announcement on the constituency result is expected sometime after 1am. Ballot boxes from Barra are being transported by sea and road to Benbecula, from where a chartered plane will bring all the ballot boxes from the Uists and Barra to Stornoway. In the event of bad weather or any other reason for delay, a boat is on stand-by to cross the Sound of Harris, but this would significantly delay the declaration in the islands.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 5th May 2016