Today is Scottish Parliament Day in the Western Isles (15th March) and Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, has made her first ever visit to the area along with a host of fellow MSPs.
Designed to give people across Scotland an insight into the work of the Parliament and its politicians, Parliament Day will see the Presiding Officer visit a number of community organisations across the Western Isles. The Public Petitions Committee will hold a workshop giving local people the opportunity to learn more about how to petition Parliament. The Committee will also hold a formal meeting in Stornoway later in the day.
Speaking ahead of Parliament Day, the Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP said: “Accessibility and openness are at the very heart of the Scottish Parliament and the Parliament Day is about making sure the work we do is just that - accessible to people across Scotland.
“I have already been impressed by the enthusiasm the people of the Western Isles have shown for Parliament Day and for engaging with their Parliament. By visiting and meeting the people living and working in their communities, we can make sure that the Parliament really is open to all.”
Public Petitions Convener David Stewart MSP added: “The Scottish Parliament’s petitions process is all about putting ordinary people at the heart of the Parliament and by bringing Parliament Day to the Western Isles we are giving people a real opportunity to engage with their Parliament and the learn how they can make an impact.”
Local MSP Alasdair Allan, who will also be taking part in events said: “The Scottish Parliament belongs to all of Scotland, which is why the Parliament has decided to get out and about around the country to let people see, and be involved in, the work that it does.
“I’ll be accompanying the Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, on a number of visits, including to Northton in Harris as well as to the Hebrides Alpha Project in Coll, which works with people with addictions.
“One of the distinctive things about the Scottish Parliament is its Petitions Committee, which allows the public to put issues of importance to them directly onto the Parliament’s agenda. It is great that this committee is meeting on the islands and I understand this opportunity is likely to be made full use of by those with concerns as varied as air services in Uist and Barra, and young people looking for WiFi on Calmac ferries.
“This will be, I hope, a real demonstration that the Scottish Parliament is accessible and open and I am sure people in the islands will make full use of that while the Parliament is here.”