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Islanders on Mull and Iona believe they have sourced a solution to their ferry woes.
The Oban to Craignure route is, they say, CalMac’s most congested service, describing the situation they are in, including an increasing number of breakdowns, as ‘dire’ when it comes to depending on it. The word they use to sum up the delay on building two new boats for the fleet is ‘fiasco’.
So with all this in mind and the toll it must take on people living and working on the two islands, it is hardly surprising the islanders have full-steamed ahead to find a way of putting themselves out of this on-going misery.
In fact, they are to be commended for seeking a way out of it and putting forward a chance to buy the Indonesian-built catamaran. It can be modified to satisfy any UK regulations for carrying passengers, says its sellers and designers who are ex-pat Scots.
Sandy Brunton, convenor of Mull and Iona Community Trust, says this is now a clear test of whether the needs and views of their island communities are being listened to or not by those who will have the ultimate say on this matter.
Time is ticking warns Mull and Iona Ferry Committee chairman Joe Reade.
Lots of eyes will be closely watching that space to see what happens next. Will the ‘dithering’ and delays by CMAL and Transport Scotland stop – as islanders are demanding? Will islands minister Paul Wheelhouse give it the nod before another buyer snaps up the catamaran said to be on the market at a generous price?
If your ship doesn’t come in, sail out to meet it. That’s exactly what Mull and Iona are doing. Power to the people.