Local News for Wednesday 18th October 2017

Ferry passengers’ storm ordeal
Passengers on board the MV Loch Seaforth endured seven hours at sea in wild conditions on Monday, when their crossing from Stornoway was badly affected by the weather. The 2pm crossing was unable to berth at Ullapool as heavy sea conditions made it unsafe to come alongside. Instead, the master took the vessel along the more sheltered side of Loch Broom and into the lee of the Summer Isles. She was eventually able to dock at Ullapool at 9pm and set out for Stornoway again at around 10pm, arriving into Stornoway early yesterday morning. Wild sea conditions once again kept her in port at Stornoway until yesterday evening.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 18th October 2017

Local News for Tuesday 17th October 2017

‘Puncture’ may have caused plane swerve
A punctured tyre could have been the cause of an incident at Stornoway airport on Sunday, when a Glasgow-bound Flybe flight swerved off the runway and onto the grass before listing to one side. Fire crews rushed to the site, but nobody was hurt and the plane was later removed from the runway. The aircraft was yesterday awaiting engineers’ inspection. 29 passengers and three crew were on-board the Eastern Airways plane and were offered alternative flights and accommodation for those who needed it.

No change to constituency boundary
The parliamentary constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar will, as expected, remain unchanged under new proposals for boundary changes published by the Boundary Commission for Scotland today. The Western Isles, and the other Scottish island constituency of Orkney and Shetland, are the only two to be unaffected by revised proposals for United Kingdom Parliament constituencies. An eight-week public consultation process starts today. The UK Parliament has decided to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600. In Scotland this means that 59 constituencies will be reduced to 53. Na h-Eileanan an Iar and Orkney and Shetland) are defined in the legislation and will not be subject to change.

Back to normal after weather
Ferry services are returning to normal timetable today after a day of delay and disruption yesterday as gales affected the islands. The impacts of ex-hurricane Ophelia skirted the islands, with the strongest winds felt across Barra and Uist.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 17th October 2017

Local News for Monday 16th October 2017

Ophelia storm impact plans
The effects of ex-hurricane Ophelia are due to be felt in the Western Isles later today, although the Met Office yesterday removed the north-west of Scotland from the area covered by severe weather warnings.

Read more: Local News for Monday 16th October 2017

Local News for Friday 13th October 2017

Island schoolgirl left ‘stateless’ by Home Office
An island schoolgirl has been left ‘stateless’ because of the Home Office’s refusal to grant her a passport, despite the fact that she was born in Scotland and has been brought up here by her father and grandparents. The unnamed 14-year-old has applied for a passport and been refused because she could not provide the birth certificate of her mother, who left her in the care of her father and grandparents in 2005. Now that her father has passed away, she is unable to give the Home Office the proof it calls for to entitle her to British citizenship. Islands MP Angus MacNeil, who has taken up her case, called the actions of the Home Office ‘callous’ after they said she had no automatic claim to British citizenship through her late father. Mr MacNeil said: “Here we have a 14-year old girl who simply wants a passport, but the cruel actions of the Home Office prevent her from doing what many of us take for granted. The family have been going round in circles since the passport application was refused. The girl’s mother cannot be traced and neither can her birth certificate, and the Home Office refuse to accept her late father’s birth certificate. This girl was born in Scotland – if the Home Office can’t confirm she is a British citizen then what is she? Stateless? I will continue to maintain pressure on the Home Office – it is simply wrong that a 14-year old girl is being treated in such a callous way.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 13th October 2017

Local News for Thursday 12th September 2017

Cash crisis at craft fairs
A cash machine that is always breaking down has left craft producers fuming in Tarbert, with customers having to leave purchases because they can’t get cash to buy them. The ATM next to the bus station and tourist information centre in Tarbert has been taken over by Cardtronics after continuing problems for the Bank of Scotland, which used to run it, but in the past few weeks it has broken down again. One Harris resident said: “The guys trying to sell their stuff at the Hand Made Tarbert Craft Fair have to send customers away again due to a lack of cash. When will something happen to this permanent issue?” Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has contacted Cardtronics, who do not list the cashpoint on their own website. Mr MacNeil said: “It really is not good enough that the ATM in Tarbert has been out of action for the past three weekends and as I understand it, the cash machine is still not working. This is a very poor service from Cardtronics and is an issue which causes a great deal of disruption to residents and tourists. A reliable ATM is essential.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 12th September 2017