Comhairle explain why no vote for incoming Ness and West Side councillor

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The Comhairle have moved quickly to explain why incoming councillor for An Taobh Siar agus Nis Alistair Maclennan was not allowed to vote in last night’s see-saw decision to close the secondary school provision at Lionel School.

A Council spokesman said it was simply because only current councillors were eligible which Mr Maclennan is not yet.

Mr Maclennan stood for the position following the recent passing of Kenny Murray in December. . As the only candidate there will be no by election held for the ward.

Last night (Wednesday, February 11) a casting vote by Comhairle Convener Norman A Macdonald has signalled the end of the road for Lionel School secondary department after a tied vote.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has expressed his ‘sadness’ at the decision of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, made on the Convener’s casting vote, to close the secondary unit at Lionel in Ness.

Alasdair Allan commented: “Parents in Ness, and the wider community, have put up a very strong campaign in defence of their secondary unit and it is particularly sad that their campaign came within one vote of persuading the council.

“I have met with parents in the past around their concerns and will now seek to do so again. This is very much a decision for the Comhairle to make but I am very willing to help on this issue in any way I can as I recognise its importance to people in Ness.”

Fifteen councillors voted to close the S1/2 unit later this year while 15 supported its retention.

With last week’s Education Committee voting 9-6 in favour of closure, an amendment to this recommendation was needed to allow a debate but none was received in time for tonight’s meeting.

Ness councillor Kenny Macleod put forward an Amendment to suspend Standing Orders to allow a debate to take place on his original amendment from last week’s Committee that the Secondary department be retained. Councillors agreed and a debate was held leading to a tied vote.

His amendment was seconded by Stornoway councillor Charlie Nicolson.

The Comhairle’s decision to close the school will now need approval from Scottish Ministers.