Islands MSP appeals for locals to get seats on ferry boards

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Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has again appealed for islanders to be represented on the boards charged with delivering lifeline ferry services.

The islands MSP recently put down a question in the Scottish Parliament asking what the Scottish Government was doing to ensure that islanders are represented on the boards of David MacBrayne Ltd, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and CalMac Ferries Ltd.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey MSP responded that he was ‘determined to ensure the views, knowledge and experience of island residents informs the delivery of ferry and other relevant transport services’ and that he was clear that he would ‘very much favour an island-based presence on the boards’.

The Minister added that he had tasked the new chairman of the David MacBrayne board with exploring how this might be achieved, as one of his first priorities.

In September of last year, the Scottish Parliament debated this issue after a Members Business Debate motion was brought forward by Mr Allan, who commented: ‘Ferry services are vital to almost every aspect of island life.

‘It is an increasing source of frustration for islanders that the boards charged with delivering these services contain virtually no-one with experience of living in an island community served by CalMac.

‘As I have said before, CalMac, as an organisation, does need to be more grounded in the communities which it serves.

‘Having board members who are actually resident in the communities which CalMac serves would create a healthy accountability, as well as ensuring the needs of local communities are better taken account of.

‘I was pleased to hear the Minister readily acknowledge the need for change, and that he has tasked the new chair of David MacBrayne with achieving this as one of his first priorities.’

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Alasdair Allan MSP

NO F52 Alasdair