Alasdair Morrison has demanded that SNP politicians state clearly that they oppose the closure or any downgrading of Lochboisdale Harbour as allegedly advocated by SNP candidate Rosyln McPherson.
In a statement issued yesterday (10th March 2015), Mrs MacPherson, who is SNP candidate for the upcoming Benbecula and North Uist by-election, said: “There will always be times when weather conditions make sailings impossible, but the key to providing a lifeline ferry service during a severe winter is maximising capacity in between these spells.
“The only practical way to achieve this is by recognising the importance of the Lochmaddy to Uig route as the shortest and most efficient connection with the mainland for the Uists.
“Like many in the community, I welcome the fact that CMAL, Calmac and the Transport Minister are all due to visit Uist in the near future, at the invitation of our MSP, to discuss some of the issues we face here in service redesign. Direct dialogue between the community and decision makers is an important aspect of shaping our future ferry services – hearing the views of service users is paramount.
“However, individuals and communities representing their particular needs is only part of a longer term solution. I believe the Comhairle has a role to play in promoting a radical rethink across all areas such as vessel design and deployment, terminal facilities and timetabling throughout the Western Isles – speaking on behalf of the whole region, but acknowledging and championing the particular needs and benefits of the key routes such as between Lochmaddy and Uig.”
Reacting today, Mr Morrison described Mrs McPherson’s comments as “worryingly stupid and astonishing.”
He said: “Her statement betrays exactly what is being discussed at a senior level within SNP headquarters in Stornoway – Roslyn MacPherson is closely attached and involved with everything that both MP and MSP say and do.
“For decades the islands realised success by ensuring we worked together. We saw many councillors forgoing investment for their own areas so that major infrastructure developments could be built. Eriskay and Berneray causeways and Scalpay bridge would never have been built if councillors took the parochial and narrow view being advocated by Roslyn MacPherson and the SNP.
“We need clear and unambiguous statements from Angus Brendan MacNeil and Alasdair Allan opposing the nonsense that Lochboisdale should close and that Lochmaddy become the only port in Uist. Mrs MacPherson’s statement is – to borrow a phrase – an unpardonable folly – and the agenda within it must be vigorously opposed.”