Local News for Monday 4th July 2016

Cruise passenger airlifted
A 60-year-old woman was airlifted from the cruise vessel Le Austral on Saturday evening, the vessel having been in Stornoway the previous day. The woman was suffering chest pains and was airlifted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Glasgow, by the Stornoway-based helicopter R948, late on Saturday night. Le Austral was west of Skye by that time, but still within the Stornoway Coastguard area.

Read more: Local News for Monday 4th July 2016

Local News for Friday 1st July 2016

EU nationals ‘welcome at Health Board’
Yesterday’s public board meeting of NHS Western Isles included a strongly worded statement of support for EU nationals living and working in the islands.  In the light of the Brexit vote, the Health Board said all EU nationals working within the Health Service are welcomed and valued colleagues. As an example of the important contribution people from other EU countries make, they cited the 15 consultants currently employed in the islands, of whom two are Scottish, nine from other EU countries and four from outside the EU. Board Chairman, Neil Galbraith, said: “EU citizens are more than welcome here and we look forward to continuing to recruit talented staff to work within the Western Isles.” He also made it clear that it was business as usual for all aspects of the health service.

Read more: Local News for Friday 1st July 2016

Local News for Thursday 30th June 2016

HebCelt heading for sell-out
The 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival is heading for a sell-out, with tickets going faster than they have done in any of the previous 20 years. Two weeks before the opening night on July 13th, HebCelt 21 is already the highest grossing on sales. All weekend tickets have been sold, as have those for the opening and closing nights, and for the concert by Skipinnish at An Lanntair, with just a limited number of main arena tickets still on sale for Friday. Half the HebCelt audience will come from off the island, bringing an economic boom for the Western Isles. News that Runrig were making their fourth appearance at the festival led to an unprecedented demand for early tickets from fans as far afield as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Several hundred were snapped up within hours of going on sale. Runrig will be among nearly 50 acts including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Hayseed Dixie, Astrid, Julie Fowlis, King Creosote and Eddi Reader. Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: "This is easily our best performance ever, with big spikes firstly when we announced Runrig and put weekend tickets on sale back in November, and then when we released day tickets. Since then sales have remained very healthy and we are heading for a sell-out across most events”.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 30th June 2016

Local News for Wednesday 29th June 2016

Queen Elizabeth comes to Stornoway
The second largest cruise ship in the world-renowned Cunard fleet is set to call into Stornoway tomorrow, and will be moored in the outer anchorage. The Queen Elizabeth is the newest ship in the Cunard fleet, launched in 2010 and smaller only than the Queen Mary 2. She’s capable of carrying over 2,000 passengers and is due to be in port between 8am and 4.30pm.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 29th June 2016

Local News for Tuesday 28th June 2016

Politicians to Isles settlers – you are welcome
Politicians yesterday moved to reassure European incomers to the Western Isles that their place in the islands is valued and important, regardless of future political developments. MSP Alasdair Allan offered to meet constituents who are concerned about the implications to them of the UK's stated intention of taking Scotland out of the European Union. The Western Isles voted to Remain in the EU by 55% of the vote – alongside every other local authority area in Scotland. Dr Allan, who serves as Europe minister in the Scottish government, said: “For citizens of other EU countries living in the islands, I appreciate that this is a worrying and uncertain time, not least because there is no obvious plan on the part of the UK government at present to deal with their situation. I want to make very clear how much I value the contribution of people from around Europe, who have put down roots in the islands and who have made this home for their families. There are a number of areas of the island economy, both private and public sector, which would be very much worse off without your contribution. Like, I suspect most people in the islands, I want you to stay.” Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil headed for Westminster yesterday, as Parliament met for the first time since the result. He also pledged support for EU settlers in the Western Isles, saying that it was his priority to reassure European citizens living in the constituency. He said: “You are welcome and valued in our communities. I have already reassured some people personally in my constituency that I am on their side, the SNP is on their side and they will remain in Scotland. They are valued equally with everybody else for as long as they choose and in reality the islands need all the people we can get. I will endeavour to write to as many EU nationals living in Na h-Eileanan an Iar as possible over the coming weeks to reiterate that message.”

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 28th June 2016