Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus B MacNeil who has been at the forefront of the campaign to return the Chessmen to Lewis, welcomed the news today that the some of the Lewis chessmen are to come back to Lewis on permanent display in 2014. This news comes almost two years to the day since Mr MacNeil met with officials at the British Museum trying to secure a return of the Lewis Chessmen to Lewis in some form.
“I am delighted by confirmation of this move, which was first muted when I first went to the British Museum almost exactly two years ago. It is good to see this work coming now to fruition and certainly the British museum have moved on a long way since I saw signs of the London underground attributing these chessmen to Norway without a mention of Lewis at all.
“This outcome was what I expected from my dialogue and negotiations with the British museum and I am pleased that they have kept to their word and that we will be able to see in the future some of the Lewis chessmen on display in Lewis which is something I have long believed to be right and proper.
“To say I am more than pleased with this announcement would be an understatement in the extreme. It is tremendous to see when political intentions and campaigns bear fruit. I am of course grateful to the Comhairle for providing adequate and secure premises to house the chessmen, which was a concern. I always hoped that the chessmen would be a tourist attraction with economic benefits for the island and I hope the Comhairle will make it obvious in the Town of Stornoway that the Chessmen are present, perhaps more obvious than when they were here last summer. Meanwhile we have to seek ways of maximising the benefit of having these world important Chessmen back in their home location.
There is nothing better than having some of the Lewis Chessmen in Lewis, it is the place to see them.