Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Mr MacNeil is backing calls by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to reject any proposal by Transport Scotland to further reduce ferry timetables and has today written to the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency.

Community and stakeholder feedback and engagement sessions were due to take place this week and following that, CalMac will make any changes requested by Transport Scotland.

Mr MacNeil said: “There are many transport needs in the islands.  I know that the Scottish Salmon Company in Lewis need to use some of the ferries that were scheduled to be cut.  Similarly in Barra, Barratlantic need the ferries, there are only five ferries a week to Barra and there will be needs in Uist and Harris as well. 

“The Sound of Barra and Harris ferries are needed not just for their own sailings but to meet up with each other which is why the last sailing to Barra is important.  Also, the Lochmaddy ferry which arrives at 3.45pm in Lochmaddy, doesn’t meet well with the 4.30pm sailing from Eriskay to Barra. 

“Perhaps that is a longer-term issue that needs to be looked at.  Meanwhile while we are looking at transportation issue, perhaps the Comhairle could look to improve the areas of transportation they are still responsible for because Council transport often doesn’t meet with other forms of transport and seems to operate independently of other forms of transport into, between and out of the islands.”