Stornoway Gazette Letters 23/8/12

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I write to you in response to your article of 9 August 2012, ‘Western Isles Free Church Faces Shortage of Available Ministers’.

I read this article with much interest as this issue is one which touches all denominations of the Christian Church. Within the Scottish Episcopal Church, we too, from time-to-time, face difficulties in filling full-time vacancies and we also have fewer people exploring ministry vocations.

However, throughout the Anglican Communion, there has been an increase in the number of women being called to full-time stipendiary ministry.

I would like to suggest that the Free Church may be missing a rather large pool of willing and very able candidates for their vacancies by disregarding the validity of women’s vocation as ministers.

The Reverend Shona R. Boardman


I was very disappointed and shocked to see the signage on the new building of the Nicolson Institute written in English first and then in Gaelic.

Not only was it on the side of the building but also on a signpost at the front gate. Given that it clearly states in the Comhairle Nan Eillean Siar Gaelic Language Plan that

• We will increase and update internal and external bilingual signage in all Comhairle properties, with Gaelic lettering first, and in bolder type: Signage on the exterior of buildings

Am I the only one to have noticed this? Surely those who were involved with writing the Gaelic Plan spotted this with it only being next door to Council?

It will be very interesting to see what happens next what with council cutbacks etc etc. maybe it was a case of no communication between departments who knows!

Angela Jenkins


No matter how pro Gaelic one is - either as an individual or indeed as an elected body - using it to change the name of Sir E Scott School is not acceptable.

Sir E Scott School’s name has been changed to ‘Sgoil an Tairbeart’ after “consultation with the Head Teacher and Parent Council” among others.

As a member of the Secondary Parent Council since its inception, neither I nor the other members have any recollection of agreeing to the use of ‘Sgoil an Tairbeart’ as the Gaelic name - which has now become the main name of the school.

I have nothing against the use of Gaelic on the signage, but as the school has been referred to at local and National Mods as ‘Sgoil Sir E Scott’ for many years and this has been perfectly acceptable to all, why change it?

At future Mods how will ‘Sgoil an Tairbeart’ be recognised as Sir E Scott School and not Tarbert Loch Fyne for example?

Where does the mindset of the need to have a Gaelic equivalent for every word in the English language come from?

In the case of Sir E Scott School ‘Sgoil and Ridire Eideard Scottach’ may be too much, but if going for Gaelic (and on a par with the Nicolson for example) that’s what it would have to be.

According to the Council’s Chief Executive, Council policy “is that Gaelic version of the name, or sign, should be given greater prominence, by being placed above any other version, and in slightly larger lettering.”

Council policy has changed though when it comes to the Nicolson Institute as ‘The Nicolson Institute’ and ‘Sgoil MhicNeacail’ will be displayed in letters of equal size, with the English version above the Gaelic version!

Why not have ‘Sgoil Steornabhaigh’ as the Gaelic version of the Nicolson and have it above the English name?

Katie A. Mackinnon


It seems to me the Free Church of Scotland is behaving rather badly over the forthcoming Dawkins lecture in Stornoway, as indeed is the Lord’s Day Observance Society, and other groups of similar mind on Lewis.

The way they’ve been conducting themselves you’d think Professor Dawkins posed some kind of threat to God and Christianity. He doesn’t, not in the slightest degree. In every respect God is more than able to see to His own interests.

Some want to boycott the venue, others want a debate with Dawkins, though in matters scientific I should imagine Dawkins would wipe the floor with them.

Faith and science are poles apart, a fact that seems not to have been grasped, but let this be both reminder and encouragement to the Free Church et al: when Professor Dawkins is turned to dust, God will still be God!

Keith Fernie


Surely Charles Green - the Chief Executive of Rangers Football Club - has now been given all the evidence he needs before he faces the SPL over his allegations of bigotry.

The persisting booing and barracking of Rangers Iain Black by the ‘tartan army’ every time he touched the ball while he made his debut in the friendly against Australia shows the unfortunate hatred that still exists in Scottish football.

There is no doubt that both sectarianism and bigotry are a form of ‘racism’. There is no room in progressive Scotland for either.

Not surprisingly,the SPL et-al are turning a deaf ear to the problem instead of addressing this scurrilous behaviour.

It would be a shame to return to the ‘tribal days’ of the 60s and 70s when the old firm jeered players because of the team they played for.

In conclusion, the SPL are in ‘uncharted waters’ by singularly threatening to remove trophies from Rangers should they be found to have given gratuity to players beyond their normal pay.

I am sure that many, other than the SPL, were aware that it was common practice in most clubs at that material time!

Donald J Morrison


Finding out that the MV Suilven is for sale, and will most likely be scrapped, will come as sad news to many islanders who grew up looking forward to trips to distant lands for their holiday.

Ferry boats, and the role they play for island communities mean that they will be remembered for decades after they have have been replaced.

But what of who runs them? Caledonian MacBrayne, in one form or the another, has been a part of the Western Isles for longer than most people care to remember. It is such a familiar brand – for those who have worked for them over the years and those who have travelled with them. The interest from other ferry operators for the lifeline routes to and from the islands, although in very early stages, could mean change is on the horizon.

With Serco having already secured the tender for the Northern Isles, is the same to happen here? Only time will tell but many islanders will be keeping a close eye on the Government’s final Scottish Ferry Plan, and the specification for the next Clyde and Hebrides tender.


The Gazette’s front page report is in regards to ferry tendering do you think more competition in the tender process, with the possibility of another operator running ferry services in the Isles is a good idea?

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