The SNP MP & MSP for Na- H-Eileanan an Iar, Angus B MacNeil and Alasdair Allan, along with SNP Councillors Rae Mackenzie and Gordon Murray today attended the launch of a petition to maintain the inter island air services within the Hebrides. Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar last night voted to withdraw the subsidy for the flight between Benbecula and Barra and voted to cut back the Stornoway to Benbecula service to 3 days a week beginning from April 1st 2013. The petition will be lodged with the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee with the aim of it being discussed by the committee when they visit Stornoway next month.
Angus MacNeil commented:
“I would urge everyone who can to sign this petition which will shortly be available online and in local shops throughout the Hebrides over the coming days. This decision, if implemented, these cuts will severely undermine the current inter island connections, and will set back the transport connections that have been so important in connecting the North and South in the Hebrides over the past 40 years.
Alasdair Allan commented:
“I was delighted to be at the launch of this petition today, and I hope people will take the opportunity to sign it. Having used the service between Barra and Benbecula yesterday and between Benbecula and Stornoway today I know how vital this service is to linking the islands.This petition from Cllrs Murray and Mackenzie is illustration to the huge concern there is around this issue.”
The petition reads as follows:
INTER ISLAND AIR SERVICES
SEIRBHISEAN ADHAR NAN EILEAN
“To petition the Scottish Parliament that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar maintains its support for the lifeline air services between Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra; the petitioners believing that the Comhairle’s current proposals risk the future of all internal flights within the Outer Hebrides and would severely undermine the transport connections which have been built up between the islands over the last forty years, with serious implications for the local economy and community; asks the petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament to ensure the Comhairle fulfils its air transport Public Service obligations in the Hebrides and to examine the implications for people in all Scotland’s island communities of this appalling move”.
Petitioners: Cllr Gordon Murray and Cllr Rae Mackenzie, Stornoway