Gazette Letters 19.12.13

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Woman minister?

Just a thought, but the High Church in Stornoway could probably increase its membership by the simple expedient of celebrating Church of Scotland’s Women’s Ordination, by putting a woman minister in the pulpit.

Hazel Mansfield


‘Academics only’ need apply!

In the various news articles in recent months, I have noticed both CalMac Ferries, and Bord na Gaidhlig were looking for folk to join their boards/or entourages, but sadly it looks like they are only interested in academics, as I do not see or hear of any genuine regular Islanders with good Gaelic, or in the case of CalMac, Islanders with a lifetime’s history of travelling on ferries.

Indeed former Island seafarers should be consulted on the types of ferries that would ensure that the boats would actually sail at least in Force 7 or 8, which presently is not happening.

Other items that are irksome include awards and prizes to individuals and communities for doing what they are supposed to be doing anyway, as a matter of course, like all the good Gaels who up to now kept the language alive for FREE!

If Bord na Gaidhlig want to help Gaelic they are certainly going about it by excluding the very people who are at its very heart and soul, that’s folks that can speak it etc and do not have to go look in any dictionary.

CalMac are of the same ilk, by excluding the very folks that they are supposed to serve!

This is also common amongst our councillors and politicians who are there to serve ‘us the people’ and not the other way round, as seems to be the present circumstance in life.

Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir,

Uibhist A Deas

Remember the real meaning of Christmas

As we relax with our families to enjoy the festive season, it’s easy sometimes to forget what Christmas is supposed to be all about – thinking of others. I’d like to ask your readers to spare a thought for those who are unable to take such simple pleasures for granted.

There are millions of people in the UK struggling to cope with disability; they may be disabled themselves and confined to a wheelchair, or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Whatever their situation, it’s more than likely that their daily existence is a hard, unrelenting struggle with poverty, isolation, discrimination and despair.

It is a sad fact that, even in this day and age, people with disabilities and carers remain among the most disenfranchised and vulnerable members of society. This Christmas, I’d like to offer your readers the opportunity to help us change that.

I work for a wonderful charity called Vitalise. We provide desperately-needed respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers at our three accessible centres around the UK.

Our breaks are an absolute lifeline, enabling our guests to restore their ability to cope and rediscover their zest for life. Without the opportunities we provide, life would be very bleak indeed.

But we simply couldn’t do what we do without the compassion and generosity of the public. So this Christmas and New Year, why not resolve to make a real difference to someone else’s life in 2014?

There are so many ways you can help, from something as simple as making a donation, to taking part in a fundraising event or sparing some time to volunteer at one of our centres. If you would like to support Vitalise, please call 0303 303 0147 or

Colin Brook,


Negative coverage

Negative media coverage and declining citizen trust in Government will only result in confusion amongst interested parties in the day to day running of our country.

Works and Pensions Minister, Tory MP Iain Smith reported recently that an independent Scotland could not afford welfare costs.

This totally contradicts what PM David Cameron said in Parliament about three months ago.

He said that we are now experiencing the worst recession for 100 years and that revenues from North Sea oil would help us recover more quickly. Both cannot be telling the truth!

Donald J. Morrison,


Greatest gift

Christmas is once again upon us, whether we like it or not. Although we don’t believe that the date of Jesus Christ’s birth on 25 December is right, there is however no question about His coming into the world and why He came, some 2,000 years ago.

No doubt the Christmas message is a powerful reminder of God’s greatest gift to a sin-sick world…and everyone is magnetically enticed and carried away: yes even those who do not ‘savingly’ believe.

Throughout the country at this time, as Christmas shops and shoppers frantically buy and sell on the markets of time, the masses will be taken up, in one way or another, with two things only: giving and receiving.

Gifts, gifts, gifts is the order of the day. The price and the cost of the ‘right gift’ is, at least for the moment, not a big concern.

How we all ought to pause and thank God for that ‘special day’ when He gave the best and greatest gift of all.

Yes, the greatest gift of ‘Christmas’ is Christ. Christ was born of the Virgin Mary as God in human form to save us from the guilt, penalty, power and ultimately the presence of sin.

This is why the Apostle Paul referred to Christ as the “unspeakable gift”.

At the close of another year, may we all seek this one gift that none of us can do without – truly it is the greatest and best gift of all!

Mr Donald J Morrison


Editorial: Services are important to success

Christmas is just around the corner and our pages are full of Christmas celebration parties as the season gets into full swing.

It’s a time for family, which puts our front page story about the lack of a dialysis service in the Southern Isles into full perspective.

Being able to care for the health of our population locally is vitally important to the viability of these islands, with more and more of us being sent away for treatments and tests on the mainland it seems that our medical facilities are more like glorified G.P surgeries, or care homes rather than fully functional hospitals.

This lack of services, which has also been apparent recently with the closure of local schools and the changes to rural police offices, highlights just how vulnerable the islands are, and could deter people from choosing to live and work in the area.

Money is tight, but offering a good lifestyle with appropriate facilities for the population is what will make these islands successful in the long term.

If you would like to comment or write a letter on this topic, or any other contact me at: