Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP parliamentarians, Alasdair Allan MSP and Angus MacNeil MP have welcomed £1.8 million funding for Lews Castle in Stornoway, announced during a visit to the Castle today by Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP.

The announcement of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the last major piece of the funding jigsaw and will help fund the creation of a major new museum in and around part of the A listed building.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“This is a major commitment from John Swinney towards a project with both cultural and economic significance for the Western Isles.  The creation of a 1000 square metre museum space in part of the Castle site will bring a much needed facility to help conserve and interpret the islands history, as well as provide an attraction for visitors. I am pleased that there is a commitment to Gaelic having a prominent role in the museums life and work.

“The completion of this part of the funding process also provides a very significant boost for the prospects of the rest of the Castle building, which has lain empty for many years, as it will help create a stunningly attractive location, I hope, for future hotel use.

“Many people in the community have worked hard to get to this point, and today’s funding announcement is a sign of commitment to the island economy by Mr Swinney.”

Angus MacNeil MP said:

“Today’s funding announcement of £1.8 million for the development of Lews Castle in Stornoway will be welcome news.

“The Lews Castle is a striking building in a stunning location, steeped in history and this final piece of funding will be welcomed.  It will be a fine place to house the Lewis Chessmen.

“We are grateful to the SNP Finance Secretary, John Swinney, for this money and I congratulate all those who have been working on this project.”