Stornoway Gazette letters 30.5.13

Eagle-eyed Paul McGinley from Laxdale recently captured this image on his camera while taking a drive down to Huisinish Beach in Harris.  Describing the moment he said: "This deer was roaming the grounds of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle merely 20 meters from our car."'To contribute your photos, email: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk. Include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, as well as any technical information about the picture

Eagle-eyed Paul McGinley from Laxdale recently captured this image on his camera while taking a drive down to Huisinish Beach in Harris. Describing the moment he said: "This deer was roaming the grounds of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle merely 20 meters from our car."'To contribute your photos, email: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk. Include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, as well as any technical information about the picture

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COUNCIL FUNDS?

I refer to a recent letter in the Stornoway Gazette pointing out that the money the council received for air services might be used as individual funds for councillors.

As someone and many others like me who depend on travelling to and from work offshore, if this is true, it is an absolute scandal.

How many other councils in Scotland grant their own councillors money for their own personal priorities?

MICHAEL MACNEIL, Isle of Barra

INTERCONNECTOR

Recent press reports of the report on transmission costs to the islands shows the value of local representatives engaging with the Energy Secretary to achieve progress for the islands.

My fellow Liberal Democrats in the north’s invitation to Ed Davey to see the problem himself and to engage him in the issue led to the commissioning of the report published last week.

Rapid progress on an issue which has been debated in the islands for the last 10 years and a fine example of the value of Liberal Democrats in Government and of practical and pragmatic engagement with Ministers!

I note with interest the enthusiastic support of Fergus Ewing and Angus MacNeil to its effect and Angus Campbell’s understandable concerns about the further delays to the inter-connector and its effect on the economy of the Western Isles. Might this unfortunate situation have been avoided had Western Isles representatives added their practical support earlier to the debate instead of just issuing the usual press release when someone else has achieved progress?

I would be very interested to know what practical action was taken to ensure that the Western Isles were not sidelined in the development of the renewables industry, not least because it is the SNP who nationally claim to be so supportive of the industry.

As an observer it looks to me like the future of the Western Isles may be sacrificed on the altar of East Coast infrastructure development.

If that is the case the buck stops with Western Isles elected Parliamentary representatives whose responsibility is first and foremost to fight for their own constituents!

JEAN DAVIS, Muir of Ord

POLITICAL SHAME

Watching opposition Labour Party leader Johann Lamont using cancer sufferer to attack the Scottish Health Service/Scottish Government is the most disturbing and shameful thing I have ever experienced in all my 70 odd years!

Wheeling a body in from the mortuary would not be beyond stern faced Ms Lamont at FMQ at Scottish Parliament. Shame on you!

DONALD J MORRISON, Buckie

DEMENTIA AID

Dementia has been very prominent in the news recently and it’s good that the government are finally taking this issue seriously. There are currently over 800,000 people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in the UK As the population ages, this is set to rocket to over a million people by 2021 and a staggering 1.7 million by 2050.

If we are to avert a full-scale dementia crisis, we need to take action now.

I work for a charity called Vitalise, one of only a handful of organisations providing specialist respite breaks for families coping with the devastating effect of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as other disabilities.

Urgent action is needed now to reach out to the UK’s invisible army of carers and give them the support they so desperately need. If you would like to know more about how Vitalise can help, please call 0303 303 0145 or email bookings@vitalise.org.uk or visitwww.vitalise.org.uk.

COLIN BROOK, Vitalise

HOME IS BEST

Home. One of my favourite words. The mere mention makes me want to be there, conjuring up a feeling of warmth in my mind - a blazing fire, comfy slippers and a cup of tea.

Home is somewhere you look forward to going to and no matter what type of day you’ve had, or how far you have to travel to get there - once you arrive? Well, all seems right with the world again.

In 2014, I’m encouraging the great Scottish public - yes that’s you - to celebrate your home in all its breath-taking glory - Scotland.

I want every single person - from the oldest to the youngest, tallest to the smallest, urban dweller to rural rambler - within the 5.3million people that inhabit our beautiful shores, to come together and celebrate what makes our home the most magnificent in the world.

Homecoming 2014 begins as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st this year. As the first bars of Auld Lang Syne ring out across the castles, cities, glens and mountains, Scotland will embark on a year like no other.

From the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, to a celebration of the iconic Forth Bridges, to whisky, music, dance and storytelling festivals galore, there is something to inspire all to get out there and discover more about Scottish history, culture and entertainment.

Events will fall into five themes: creative, active, natural, ancestry, food and drink. So if you prefer feasting on seafood to throwing yourself down a mountain on a bicycle, we don’t mind as long as we can inspire you to get involved.

And for those that think that Homecoming is ‘not for them’? Well, as you recline on the sofa in your own home tonight, I want you to think of one thing about Scotland that you cannot wait to get back to - the thing that you miss the most when you dare to venture from these shores!

Because beyond the fireworks, pomp and spectacle, that’s what Homecoming is about. It is a time to remember why we love our small, but perfectly formed country so much.

And as we prepare to welcome the world in 2014 for Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, it’s a time to make sure we take a deep breath and show the world just how important we are.

Events are being added by the day to the Homecoming 2014 programme. For more details on events in your area or how to get involved, visit www.homecomingscotland.com

MIKE CANTLAY, VisitScotland