Local News for Friday 7th July 2017

‘Where are the crofters?’ – MSP
Scottish Labour’s rural economy spokesperson Rhoda Grant, who is also MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has criticised a new National Council of Rural Advisors, unveiled by the Scottish Government, because there is no Highland or Island, or crofting representation on the Council. Mrs Grant has written to the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing, to express her concerns. She said: "I am deeply worried that this means the concerns of those working on our most challenging land in the Highlands and Islands will be overlooked, once again. Too often have we seen support skewed away from the area that most need it, and this Council does not include the expert knowledge to change that.”

Islands should work together for interconnector
Meanwhile Western Isles Labour Party has thanked the Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, for securing a House of Commons debate on the crucial issue of interconnectors for remote islands renewables. Mr Carmichael has called for a cross-party approach to build on the Conservative manifesto commitment to support remote islands wind developments and link them to the National Grid by interconnector. Labour’s Western Isles candidate at the recent General Election, Ealasaid MacDonald, said: "We need a constructive approach on a cross-party basis to build on the Tories' manifesto pledge, in order to secure a crucial economic benefit for our community. We all face the same basic issues.” Mrs MacDonald said that she welcomed a commitment from the new Energy Minister, Richard Harrington, to visit the islands and that she would continue to support the efforts of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to secure the interconnector.

Radar development welcomed
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed an announcement of a £16.8m investment by the Ministry of Defence and QinetiQ in two new tracking radars on St Kilda, and the upgrade of two existing radars at MOD Hebrides. Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, Cllr Donald Crichton, said: "This is excellent news for Uist and for the Outer Hebrides. This investment demonstrates a commitment to the base and the employment that it provides and to a secure future. I hope this investment opens the route to new and innovative business at the range, that it provides stability for the workforce and opens new opportunities for young people."

Scarper from North Harris
A new event has been introduced to the Isle of Harris Mountain Festival, set to take place from September 9th to 16th this year. The Scarper is described as ‘a beast of a race’ taking in hills, lochs, the sea and an island in a running and swimming event. The festival programme this year ranges from evening talks and film shows to mountain walks, runs and biking events, and includes celebrity speakers and local music. For more information, go to the Isle of Harris Mountain Festival website www.iohmf.co.uk or follow the link on our Facebook page.

After a few weeks’ break from football for many island players, the Lewis and Harris league fixtures started again on Wednesday, Westside maintaining their league-leading position despite losing nil-2 to Point at Barvas. Point are slowly clawing their way up the league after a disappointing league start. Also on Wednesday Back lost 0-3 to Aths, Ness defeated united 1-6 at Goathill and Carloway won their home match against Lochs 2-1. Tomorrow sees two games in the Co-op Cup – Southen v Ness and Point against Westside once again, this time at Garrabost. Unfortunately Lochs FC are unable to field a team for their Co-op Cup match against Iochdar Saints on Saturday, so Iochdar get an automatic 3 -0 win and advance to the semi-final.