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Massive efforts by Lismore residents to highlight their ferry plight have been commended.
Oban North and Lorn Councillor Kieron Green praised the islanders campaign to save their lifeline ferry services after confirmation, subject to the budget passing in the Scottish Parliament, that the council will receive £954,000 from the Scottish Government for internal ferry services in 2020/21.
This will cover the full budgeted cost of £454,000 for operating all four council ferries – Lismore, Easdale, Kerrera and Luing – for the year.
It will also fund the full cost of building a replacement Lismore ferry in time to comply with new regulations.
Councillor Green said: ‘This is extremely welcome and I would like to thank the Scottish Government for this funding, and pay tribute to the massive efforts made by communities on Lismore and elsewhere to highlight this issue, the intervention of our constituency MSP Michael Russell as well as the attention given to the issue by regional list MSPs.’
He added: ‘I know that this will come as a relief to all those who depend on these ferry services. I greatly appreciate this support being given to our islands and the recognition that has been given of the importance these services have in peoples lives.’
Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton received a letter of funding confirmation from Islands and Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse on February 24.
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said common sense had ‘finally prevailed’.
‘It was plainly obvious that Argyll and Bute Council, after years of cuts to its budget, was in no fit financial state to fund the replacement Lismore ferry and, frankly, it should not have required such a long period of intensive lobbying of the Scottish Government to secure this outcome. I very much hope that members of those communities who have been so worried about the possible loss of their lifeline services can now relax a little and get on with their lives.’