Letters to the editor – week 13 2022

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Islanders need assurance

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth needs to assure all island dwellers, especially those struggling to keep farm or tourist-based small business out of their untimely graves, that they have a better future arriving and soon.

To echo Rob Wainwright’s words in The Oban Times article of February 24, ‘where are the new ferries?’

We know better than anyone else we are suffering a backward moving economy along with the of rest of the world, so she can skip those avenues of guff and get straight down to analysing the historic failure of the Scottish Parliament to deliver adequate vessels and infrastructure to Coll and Tiree.

The destruction to confidence and predictability of island life in the last ten years, against the stream of official rhetoric, is causing an unhappy reality to be faced by islanders that they do not have a sustainable future on the islands as long as the Scottish Government is failing to back them with real measures, rather than transparent political yack.

How do we know island life is capsizing? Simple measurements. Static or falling incomes in an already marginal area, while fuel costs head for £2/litre. CalMac spaces set to a constant ‘unavailable’ months in advance on its website. Residents working or moving away. Second house owners – there is no such thing as a ‘second home’ – unable to find handy locals to clean their business premises.

Much blame has been heaped on the weather for ferry failures, but this argument is as redundant as a rusting hulk in Rosyth or the Clyde.

Ships in mid Atlantic don’t suddenly sink when the weather blows up a bit but would struggle to tie up in a decent swell.

The example of Tiree and Coll shows the investment in link spans has not been sufficient to assure service. These ports also need protected by sea walls to kill the swell and the undeniable savings all round that would come from the creation of a causeway across the Gunna Sound would mean only one protected link span was needed.

Speak now Jenny.

Peter Isaacson, Hynish, Tiree.

Caring for the value of life

Donald J Morrison, Letters, March 17, accuses the Scottish Government of having no value for human life in even daring to debate assisted dying – not ‘euthanasia’ as he claims it to be.

In fact, those of us who support assisted dying could not care more for the value of human life. The big difference is we recognise that life only has value so long as there is quality of life and once that quality is gone, then to force someone to live on in unbearable suffering, when palliative care has reached its limits – as can happen – is unspeakably cruel.

Mr Morrison claims assisted dying would give doctors ‘the opportunity to play God’. Medical science continually ‘plays God’ and has done since our earliest ancestors discovered what herbs could help ailments.

Indeed, it is precisely because of medical science ‘playing God’ that today we have very low infant mortality and live long lives in relatively good health. And, of course, without medical science ‘playing God’, palliative care would not exist.

I don’t know where Mr Morrison gets his ideas about doctors refraining ‘from giving the patient food and water until that person dies’, because that is not how assisted dying works and if it did entail anything so cruel, neither I nor many other proponents would be in favour of it.

The fact Mr Morrison made that comment proves how ill-informed he is on the subject.

L J Thomson.

Supply of ferries for CalMac

I would like to clarify points raised in a column in last week’s Oban Times regarding CalMac and the supply of ferries.

I was disappointed to note there was negative comment about CalMac’s role in ordering new ferries from Turkey.

These comments were inaccurate as CalMac does not buy or own vessels. It is CMAL which procures new vessels and owns the vessels we use.

CalMac operates the Clyde and Hebrides Service on behalf of the Scottish Government and while we maintain the ferries we operate across the network, we do not own them and cannot order new ones to be built.

Robbie Drummond, managing director, CalMac Ferries Limited.

Great ambulance service

Ambulance services have received bad press recently but I would like to set the record straight on a personal level.

You may say because I live in a relatively small town I have much easier access to an ambulance. This is not necessarily the case as very often ambulance staff have to travel to isolated areas and can be delayed for some time.

On Wednesday last, I had to request an ambulance. From first phone call to ambulance, arrival was approximately seven minutes and treatment, from beginning to end with a happy outcome, was amazing, cheerful, efficient and reassuring.

The follow up treatment at accident and emergency was equally efficient and I was sent home a very happy lady. Thank you to everyone involved.

Moira Lang, Albany Street, Oban.

Dedicated councillors

I would like to re-enforce your comments on the service which our three retiring councillors Elaine Robertson, Roddy MacCuish and Mary-Jean Devon have given to the community of North Argyll over many years.

I have been privileged to work with all of them on various projects covering health, housing, sport, disability, community development, transport and cemeteries and always found their dedication and commitment to small communities unwavering.

Elaine, Roddy and Mary-Jean are shining examples of what good local politicians can achieve for the benefit of everyone. North Argyll will sorely miss them but we thank them for all their efforts and wish each of them a happy retirement.

When will we see their likes again?

Iain McNicol, Port Appin.