Statement from Councillor Gordon Murray

Statement from Western Isles Cllr Gordon Murray on SSE surcharge and fuel poverty

“While the calls for an end to the 2p surcharge that is imposed by SSE is welcome, I don’t think it goes far enough in addressing the severe levels of fuel poverty we have on the islands. Families struggling week to week paying high energy costs is not acceptable in an renewable energy rich Hebrides.

“The council need to ensure our renewable energy potential is harnessed and through public ownership supply cost price electricity to every household in the Western Isles. This will eradicate fuel poverty and make the Hebrides a more attractive place for families and businesses.”

Posted in community, council, Western Isles | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

LETTER – A second chance to secure a Minch inter-connector?

I was rather hoping that the following reply to Mr Archie Harper’s Stornoway Gazette letter of last week would have appeared in today’s edition of that newspaper. But obviously the editor thought a more worthy use for the readers letters’ page of a local newspaper would be to allow non-reader Air Vice-Marshals and Sirs from far away to send their seasonal greetings to the nation, while, once again, the views of a common Lewis maw on a topic of local interest are dismissed as unimportant. Discrimination comes in all forms! Just as well I haven’t got a darker complexion or I’d have been told to ‘Get lost, n****r’.
IMM

Dear Editor

In attempting to apportion blame on a previous UK Labour Government and former MP Calum Macdonald for the present lack of a Minch electricity inter-connector, Archie Harper (Letters 11/12/14) must believe all Stornoway Gazette readers suffer from defective memories.

Mr Harper’s rewriting of recent history in defence of Angus Macneil can’t alter the fact that there was a previous plan in 2004 to construct a Minch inter-connector included in the Lewis Wind Power ( LWP) development proposed for northern Lewis. A development which generated a considerable amount of local opposition, tapped into for his own electoral purposes by Mr Macneil, who became a very vocal critic of the LWP windfarm project

Those islanders who opposed the LWP development had every right to do so,but they must also bear partial responsibility for the present lack of a Minch inter-connector. Nor is there any certainty of their getting a second bite at the inter-connector cherry

Those of us who still retain a retentive memory will also recall that it was the SNP government in Edinburgh who put the final nail in the coffin of the Lewis Wind Power project and any associated inter-connector, when in 2008 they refused to give planning consent to the development. Mr Harper’s selective amnesia refuses to acknowledge these facts ,and instead goes looking for scapegoats such as former MP Calum Macdonald.

Mr Macdonald has shown his commitment to island renewable energy through his involvement with a windfarm currently under construction on a visually uninspiring moorland within sight of the scenic pleasures of the municipal dump.

An insight into Mr Macneil’s corresponding lack of commitment was shown on the occasion he was due to accompany a delegation who had travelled from the Western Isles to press for action in progressing a Minch inter-connector at a meeting to be held at the UK energy department in London. The full extent of Angus Macneil’s previous efforts in pursuit of this cause was inadvertently revealed when it became apparent he didn’t even know the London address of the energy department which dealt with such matters.

These actions speak louder about Mr Macneil’s priorities as regards the Minch inter-connector, than any amount of words written in Archie Harper’s flawed attempt to rewrite recent history that flatters his unworthy hero.

Yours faithfully

Iain M Macdonald

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Super-fit maybe, but will party chiefs run headlong into trouble over the voting age?

What’s all this about changing the voting age to 16? Is Nicola Sturgeon completely losing the plot? If I had been worrying about the policies of Edward Heath and wondering which party I should back to get rid of him and his posh yacht Morning Cloud, then I could have turned out very different – and so could the country.

Instead, I spent my spare time when I was 16 and 17 doing what we did best in the 1970s. Drinking and finding out about real life. And there were few better places to see gritty realism in those days than through the bottom of a pint glass in the scruffiest alehouses of Stornoway like the Clachan Bar, the Star Inn or, if someone else was buying, that compact and bijou little lounge upstairs in the County Hotel.

Or, if we only had enough for a few cans between us, we would head off to the castle grounds. The more biologically aware among us would pick white mushrooms up by Strawberry Hill to bake on a ripped-open beer can. That aroma was heavenly and the mushies helped soak up the bevvy before we headed back to the school hostel.

Good job, we were in the grounds of Lews Castle and not Buckingham Palace or we could have got ourselves even more out of it. It seems that the fungus growing around Her Majesty’s main London residence are, in fact, what we called magic mushies. They were magic not because they were usually red with white spots but because they made you see and hear things that weren’t actually there and invariably had you gibbering away to yourself.

Our old hostel warden will be reading this and thinking: “So that is why Maciver and company were so dozy when they came back in.” Dozy? I was virtually comatose. How do you think all the members of the Royal Family look so serene? It’s just what us well-bred people do.

There was a downside though. The mushies gave me a severe case of the trots – more of a case of the gallops, to be honest – and that distressing condition seemed to take a long time to pass. No thanks, if I want to end up blabbing pointlessly to myself I just shout to Mrs X and ask her if she has any quids she can give me to go to the pub. Ah, the sound of silence.

Anyway, does Nicola Sturgeon really want to divert our nation’s youth from such a wonderful learning experience as interacting with the great parched pub-goer in their formative years? It did me no harm, he said hopefully. Would she rather teenagers should all be listening to the likes of new Labour leader Jim Murphy and herself vying for our attention as they vow in turn, each with their most serious face on, to make a better Scotland for us all? Come oan, gie’s a break. Tender young brains should not be forced to assimilate such nonsense and false promises until they are at least 21. Aye, I would raise the voting age, not lower it.

murphy

Jim Murphy

And another thing, it goes against biblical teaching to be introduced to politics too early. “Rejoice , O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth …” That’s Ecclesiastes 11:9 and verily, verily I say unto thee that it would be impossible for anyone to rejoice while listening to the monotone Mr Murphy. He does go on.

Like Rangers manager Ally McCoist. How can anyone put in his notice to quit and immediately get rewarded by having their salary bumped up to £750,000? That’s not going to work. Given a bit of time, the fans will turn on him, and the cash-strapped club. How long until we hear Super Ally is leaving to spend more time with his adviser on super tax. I mean his family, obviously.

Unlike Ally McCoist, who claims he doesn’t do walking away, Jim Murphy runs away with himself each morning. He is a fitness fanatic and a jogger and it is doubtful whether the demands of being Labour’s Scottish leader will stop him pounding the early-morning pavements. Last week he was out and noticed a little boy with a box. He ran over and asked what was in it. The boy said it was kittens. Jim laughed and wondered what kind of kittens they were. “They’re socialists,” the kid said. Ah, how they laughed.

A couple of days later Jim met Nicola Sturgeon who was also out for a wee skip round the block in her shocking pink tracksuit. Just then, the same boy with his box appeared. Jim says to Nicola to watch and he called the boy over. Jim said: “Look in the box, Nicola. Isn’t that cute? Laddie, tell this lady Nicola what kind of kittens they are.” The boy replies: “They’re nationalists.”

Jim was stunned. “The last time I saw you, you said they were socialists. What’s changed? “Well mister, it’s like this,” the lad says. “Their eyes are open now.”

Posted in P&J column, politics | Tagged , | 7 Comments

My name’s on the list and I’m getting in

Dear Captain Frater

Thank you very much for your generous response and I shall look forward to it.
Meanwhile, I too wish all the very best to you and yours.

Sincerely

Iain

>>>>>

Date:   Wednesday, 17 December 2014 9:37 AM

Dear Mr Maciver

I thank you for your e-mail and for letting us know about your availability. You and others will be invited to meet with the board in due course. In the meantime may I wish you and your family all the best for the festive season.

Regards

R. Frater
Chairman
S. P. A.

Posted in authority, port, Stornoway, Western Isles | Tagged | 3 Comments

Stornoway Port Authority is the talk of the steamie

Remember you can keep up with my feed of stories about Stornoway Port Authority by clicking the link below.  Bookmark it and don’t miss an episode of this amazing real-life saga of how seemingly-intelligent people will act behind closed doors when the government can’t be bothered to put legislation in place to make them accountable for anything.

Thousands of you are already following this incredible tale of greed, power, corruption, ruined lives and, coming soon … sex. Stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment.

http://maciverblog.co.uk/tag/spa/

Posted in authority, port, Stornoway, Western Isles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Stornoway Port Authority appoints chairman

STATEMENT FROM STORNOWAY PORT AUTHORITY

“Stornoway Port Authority are pleased to confirm that Captain Robert Frater, who had been acting as Interim Chair of the Port Authority, has agreed to continue in position as Chairman of Stornoway Port Authority for the time being and Mr Murdo Murray has been appointed Vice Chair.”

Posted in authority, port, Stornoway, Western Isles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The jailed “serial killer” nurse who did not murder anyone

That was some Panorama programme last night about Scottish “serial killer” nurse Colin Norris. It was a real eye-opener. It seems that police made up their mind he was a murderer of five elderly women based solely on hospital ward banter of the type which is heard in every hospital – and probably every day.  Norris

They went looking for evidence to fit their suspicions and just didn’t look for other explanations. Those other possible explanations, including one advanced by Dr Adel Ismail, a former clinical biochemist, who told the trial a rare condition called insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS) could have caused the blood-test result, was just ignored. Now advances in medical science have shown that the condition is not rare at all and that it is unlikely any insulin was injected into any of the women.

So Colin Norris was flung into jail for murders that simply didn’t happen. Our justice system failed. I wonder if trial evidence by any other learned professors has been ignored in favour of preconceptions resulting in any other miscarriages of justice?

Posted in crime | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Captain Frater makes generous offer to meet the SPA board

Iain Maciver
Journalist and broadcaster
_________________________________________________

15 December 2014

Captain Bert Frater
Stornoway Port Authority
Amity House
Stornoway

Dear Captain Frater

Having seen the recent correspondence between yourself and Mr Norman Macarthur (below), I was delighted to see that you suggested to him that he may meet the board to answer all his questions about the Pathfinder and all the bits and bobs that need to be tidied up. That is really a very generous offer by you and will go a long way to dispelling all the concerns in this town that the board under yourself is just a talking shop which is not committed to transparency and openness. It will send out the right message that it is, in fact, being run for the benefit of all its stakeholders and not for the interests of a certain few. Well done.

Which is why I would also like you to arrange a meeting for me too with all the members of your board to answer all the questions I have and which your chief executive has not had time to answer. Phew, it’s a long list now. In fact, I think that all the local media would like to attend such a meeting as they tell me that they too are not getting satisfactory answers from the authority which you may or may not be chairman of.

My memory is not what it was but I must remember to ask you when we meet if your fellow board members have elected you chairman yet and, if not, why not? I am sure the chief executive would have announced it to the world if they had promoted you – unless, of course, you and herself have fallen out. Oh dear, I’ll say no more till we have that cuppa.

You will agree, I am sure, that it would be dreadfully unfair if you were to make such an offer to Mr Macarthur just because he is a former board member – and therefore undoubtedly a terribly, terribly influential businessman in this town as well – while not making a similar offer to me and all the other stakeholders who also happen to have a live interest in the running of our local institutions. People who know you well tell me they doubt that discrimination plays any part in your approach to your running of the authority. Well done again.

I have different demands on my time depending on the day of the week but with a bit of planning I can be at Amity House most mornings up until about 11am and then most afternoons after 2.30pm. Maybe I will just run through the door sometime tomorrow and ask someone to fish out your diary and we can get it fixed up pronto. No point in wasting time, eh?

Thanks again for the offer.

Iain

P.S. – I gather that this austerity thing which everyone is talking about is finally reaching Stornoway institutions so do let me know if you want me to bring chocolate digestives. The taxman knocked them back as an allowable expense on my last tax return but I am prepared to dig deep in the interest of mutual cordial relations because of your kind offer.

—– Original message —–
From: Norman Macarthur <brotsss@aol.com>
To: jane.maciver@stornowayport.com, harbourmaster@stornowayport.com
Cc: rhoda.grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk, jamie.mcgrigor.msp@scottish.parliament.uk,alasdair.allan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk, angus.macneil.mp@parliament.uk, david.stewart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk,jean.urquhart.msp@scottish.parliament, ben.comber@jpress.co.uk, angus.macdonald2@bbc.co.uk,info@hebridesnews.co.uk, scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk, murray.macleod@whfp.co.uk,chris.wilcock@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk, iain@maciver.uk
Subject: Fwd: Pathfinder Questions from Mr.N.Macarthur – Third application
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:32:02 -0500

Good evening
Kindly pass this my concern to Capt Frater or whomsoever is presently Chairman of SPA Board that despite requesting a response to material questions regarding the vessel “Pathfinder” most recently a week ago I have had no response. I would have sent this mail direct to himself if I had his board e-mail address handy but as you can see he has taken umbrage at my use of his private address which incidentally he himself had supplied.

Sincerely
Norman Macarthur [Stakeholder]
Stornoway Shipping Services Ltd [As agents only]
3 South Beach, Stornoway
Isle of Lewis HS1 2BE, Scotland
Tel: +44(0) 1851 704050; Mob: +44 [0] 7786194926 presently

—–Original Message—–
From: Norman Macarthur <brotsss@aol.com>
To: retarf <retarf@hotmail.com>
CC: rhoda.grant.msp <rhoda.grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; david.stewart.msp <david.stewart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; jean.urquhart.msp <jean.urquhart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; ben.comber <ben.comber@jpress.co.uk>; angus.macdonald2 <angus.macdonald2@bbc.co.uk>; info <info@hebridesnews.co.uk>; chris.wilcock <chris.wilcock@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk>; scottish.ministers <scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk>; angus.macneil.mp <angus.macneil.mp@parliament.uk>; murray.macleod <murray.macleod@whfp.co.uk>; alasdair.allan.msp <alasdair.allan.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; jamie.mcgrigor.msp <jamie.mcgrigor.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 19:09
Subject: Re: Pathfinder Questions from Mr.N.Macarthur

Good evening Capt Frater
Thank you for your response below. Kindly follow the string of these e-mails to the beginning where you will find that my original mail was addressed to Chief Executive Jane Maciver, who has not responded and to Harbourmaster Peter Read. He it was who passed it to the Board as stated in his e-mail below for the board to respond. You yourself replied on behalf of the board and used the addressretarf@hotmail.com as you will see below. Naturally I sent my reminder to that address although I wondered in the previous one why you had used an address other than the official board one. I still await a response to my last series of questions which if you have difficulty in answering personally as chairman kindly pass to the full board for a response.
Your final sentence in this latest e-mail is unworthy of you. I make observations or ask questions ALWAYS openly and under my own name whether it be on our own page or from time to time on the Iain X Maciver Blog.

Sincerely

Norman Macarthur
Stornoway Shipping Services Ltd [As agents only]
3 South Beach, Stornoway
Isle of Lewis HS1 2BE, Scotland
Tel: +44(0) 1851 704050; Mob: +44 [0] 7796538629

—–Original Message—–
From: Robert JM Frater <retarf@hotmail.com>
To: Brotsss <brotsss@aol.com>
CC: jamie.mcgregor.msp <jamie.mcgregor.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; rhoda.grant.msp <rhoda.grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; david.stewart.msp <david.stewart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; jean.urquhart.msp <jean.urquhart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; ben.comber <ben.comber@jpress.co.uk>; angus.macdonald2 <angus.macdonald2@bbc.co.uk>; info <info@hebridesnews.co.uk>; chris.wilcock <chris.wilcock@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk>; scottish.ministers <scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk>; alasdair.allen.msp <alasdair.allen.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; angus.macneil.mp <angus.macneil.mp@parliament.uk>; murray.macleod <murray.macleod@whfp.co.uk>
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 16:49
Subject: RE: Pathfinder Questions from Mr.N.Macarthur

Good Afternoon,Mr. Macarthur

I am answering this in a personal capacity as it has been addressed to me personally.
As a former board member you will be aware that questions such as you have raised
should be addressed to the Chief Executive and not to individual members of the board. The board members are unpaid volunteers who have other commitments and demands on their time.
You have been invited on previous occasions to meet with the board and have refused the opportunity, but instead continue to make, through social media, unattributed and unsubstantiated allegations against members of SPA staff with a complete disregard for the effect this has on them or their families.

The opportunity is still there for you to ask to meet the board.
Yours
Bert Frater

From: Brotsss@aol.com

Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 04:53:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Pathfinder Questions from Mr.N.Macarthur
To: Brotsss@aol.com; retarf@hotmail.com
CC: jamie.mcgregor.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; rhoda.grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; david.stewart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;jean.urquhart.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; ben.comber@jpress.co.uk; angus.macdonald2@bbc.co.uk; info@hebridesnews.co.uk;chris.wilcock@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk; scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk; alasdair.allen.msp@scottish.parliament.uk;angus.macneil.mp@parliament.uk; murray.macleod@whfp.co.uk

Good morning Capt Frater
Are you now able to respond to my e-mail of one week ago – Dec 01 – which I forward below. I and others are very disappointed that it is taking so long to address a fairly simple series of questions. Questions which we as stakeholders are perfectly entitled to ask and expect to receive accurate and timeous answers. I now require you to enlist all other current members of the Board and the Port Operatives to assist you in responding urgently
Sincerely
Norman Macarthur

In a message dated 01/12/2014 15:18:42 GMT Standard Time, Brotsss@aol.com writes:

Good day Capt Frater
I am afraid that having studied your response over the weekend it raises even more questions, including:
1[a] On what date was the pilot boat “Portrona” given the fresh 5 year extension to its certificate and on what date was the purchase of “Pathfinder” approved by the board and kindly confirm details of members who are recorded as approving the purchase and those who are not together with any abstentions/absences.
1[e] Your response does not answer my question
1[f] Your response does not answer my question
1[g] Kindly expand on your response. Who decided, when and on what evidence, was the Board convinced that the alterations necessary “reflected value for money as far as the Board were concerned”.
2[a] Your response indicates serious shortcomings in the chain of command within SPA. The fact that “On not one of these [3] occasions was the Harbour Master informed of any concern” demonstrates clearly that the Foreman, who was aware of the problem and whose duty it was to inform either him or the Deputy HM was negligent. Further surely what was common knowledge on the pier should have been picked up by him?
2[b] This question most certainly is not “irrelevant and a repetition of gossip” but entirely relevant to the question posed at 2[a]
2[c] I think that the seaworthiness or otherwise of the vessel has been answered for us by the fact that she sank due to the already identified problem.
2[d] Your statement that “there were no harbour staff aboard the vessel is simply wrong” seems to contradict the statement given to Mr Sandy Matheson by Chief Executive Jane Maciver and totally credible eye witness evidence that only two people completed the voyage from Lochmaddy to Stornoway and neither were SPA staff. My contention is that 3 people were on board leaving the port but only 2 were on board on arrival back from Lochmaddy, neither of whom were SPA staff.
3[a] An incomplete and irrelevant answer
3[b] There is no relaxation permitted in the SPA’s own Pilotage Directions which quite clearly states that “Pilotage shall be compulsory in the Stornoway Harbour area for …….all vessels towing another vessel”.
3[c] Witnesses are perfectly capable of distinguishing between a grounding and the use of spudlegs
3[d] Cannot agree that SEPA are not a relevant party to be informed of an oil spill within the harbour as there is incontrovertible evidence within SPA’s own files to disprove this.
3[f],[g],[h] Awaiting your response once available.

In conclusion is there any significance in the fact that your response was from your private e-mail address rather than from your SPA board address considering that this was a board matter ?
Sincerely
Norman Macarthur

In a message dated 28/11/2014 22:25:06 GMT Standard Time, retarf@hotmail.com writes:

Dear Mr. Macarthur

‘Pathfinder’ Enquiries

I thank you for your email re the above, which was sent to the Harbour Master and passed from him to the Board, as was the reminder. We regret the delay in responding but we were anxious to let you have as full a response as possible within the terms of data protection, commercial confidentiality and governance responsibilities.

In response to the questions you have raised, the facts are as follows :

1.(a) The vessel was purchased because the Board had determined that the existing Pilot Boat was nearing the end of its useful life and, subject to sorting some of its known defects,could be sold on to help defray the costs of a more modern replacement Pilot Boat. The details of other vessels are not relevant as none came within the budget parameters set by the Board and commercial confidentiality is a relevant issue.

1.(b) The purchase was proposed by the former Chairman, Captain Angus Smith, and it was approved and authorised by the Board.

1. (c) Costs were well within the budget set by the Board.

1. (d) The survey did, as all surveys of second-hand boats do, pick out a number of defects that required to be addressed. No defects met the definition of “significant” and none was identified as in need of urgent attention. In no sense was the vessel deemed to be unseaworthy. The surveyors used are leaders in their field, which is the reason the Board appointed them. If the vessel had been unseaworthy the surveyor would have said so, unequivocally, in their report.

1. (e) The allegation was untrue. In regard to the defects which had to be addressed, all of these items are specified in the repair specification documentation.

1. (f) The question is irrelevant. See the answer to 1(e) above.

1. (g) It was known before the boat was purchased that it would need alterations to be coded. The purchase, in the knowledge of the coding requirements, reflected value for money as far as the Board was concerned.

2. (a) This is a gross exaggeration. The boat was bailed out on 3 occasions. On not one of these occasions was the Harbour Master informed of any concern.

2. (b) This question is irrelevant since it is a repetition of gossip. The problem described did not exist and again there was no question of the vessel being unseaworthy simply because there was water in the bilges, a not uncommon feature of vessels large and small.

2. (c) This question is again irrelevant and the repetition of the vessel as being unseaworthy is, as indicated above, entirely untrue. The voyage was not potentially hazardous and there was no significant defect in the vessel. The question of the personnel on board on this voyage is an issue that the Board has addressed within its governance procedures.

2. (d) The statement that there were no harbour staff aboard the vessel is simply wrong.

3. (a) This was an emergency, and emergency measures were taken. If the barge had to wait for the next tide then the pontoon would likely have been damaged by the vessel at low water.

3. (b) See above answer

3. (c) The barge at no time “grounded”. This assertion of grounding by the barge reflects a misunderstanding of how these barges operate. Barges of this kind use their spudlegs by grounding the legs to stabilise their operations. The assertion also reflects a misunderstanding of the role of the MCA.

3.(d) SEPA was not informed. The MCA was informed as it is the correct body to be informed in relation to oil spillages at sea.

3. (e) The insurers were immediately informed by the Harbour Master.

3. (f) It is not possible to answer this question since discussions have not yet been concluded.

3. (g) See above answer.

3. (h) This is not yet known.

4. (a) Employment rights preclude an answer to this question.

I trust the above answers your concerns, and would be delighted to meet you at Amity House when mutually convenient.

Yours sincerely

Capt R. Frater
Chairman
(on behalf of the Board)

=

Posted in authority, port, Stornoway, Western Isles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Killer jellyfish proof of “inhumane” salmon farming, say campaigners

Campaigners against the environmental damage caused by fish farms have condemned as “inhumane” the salmon farming industry after 300,000 young salmon died in a North Uist jellyfish attack.

It follows confirmation by Loch Duart Salmon that their young salmon were attacked by the killer jellyfish. Other fish were weakened in the attack and later died due to exhaustion and the impact of poor weather conditions. The fish were said to have died as they were trapped in the fish farm’s nets at the company’s farm in Lochmaddy.

all-packs

Loch Duart Salmon is claimed to be sustainable and clean

Now Outer Hebrides Against Fish Farming (OHAFF) has gone on the attack itself claiming it was a tragic incident which highlighted everything that is inhumane and wrong with salmonid aquaculture.

Peter Urpeth from OHAFF said: “That so many young fish have died a panicked and painful death either directly due to jellyfish stings or through exhaustion as a consequence of the attack, is a damning indictment of the industry, and why so many people concerned for animal welfare want the unnatural and forced containment of a migratory and iconic fish species to cease.”

Farmed salmon were a sitting target for swarms of sealice and jellyfish which were prone to mass outbreaks of disease and the industry was polluting seas and threatening wild fish stocks, he said.

“Sealice are showing growing resistance to chemical treatments and in recent years fish farmers have reported huge mortalities to disease. This has to stop, and OHAFF urges anyone with a concern for animal welfare to stop buying farmed salmon for Christmas and forever.”

Loch Duart Salmon did not immediately respond to the criticism of the industry.

Posted in campaign, Uist, Western Isles | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Shocking treatment of pensioner at Blar Buidhe

Seven out of 10 serious complaints about the treatment of a pensioner at a Stornoway care home have been upheld by the Care Inspectorate who described it as “a serious and distressing case”.

The complaints were lodged by the family of Norma Smith from Ness, a patient at Blar Buidhe near Plasterfield, who has since died.

blarbuidhe

Blar Buidhe

It is understood that the family’s complaints included that the staff at Blar Buidhe did not ensure the old lady was eating and drinking enough, they did not ensure she was able to move around her room and did not take steps to prevent her from suffering from kidney disease.

The family are also said to have claimed that their previous complaints to the home were not properly dealt with. The Care Inspectorate upheld these complaints and it also found that the family’s concerns were not dealt with in a fair or reasonable way.

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said today: “This was a serious and distressing case and our thoughts are with those affected. We have investigated this matter thoroughly and have upheld seven elements of the complaint.
“As a result of our investigation we have made seven requirements for improvement to ensure that the service provided to residents meets the standards we require. We have informed the service of this and expect them to take prompt action to address the serious concerns we have raised.
“We are currently inspecting this service and to date have not identified significant matters of concern. A detailed report of our findings will be published in due course.The Care Inspectorate will continue to monitor this service and will not hesitate to take further action if required.
“Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights. Anyone with a concern about a care service can contact our helpline on 0345 600 9527.”

Blar Buidhe is operated by HC-One, a private company based in Darlington, County Durham, which has been involved in other cases of serious failures at heir other care homes although unrelated to this case.

It claimed that the health, safety and wellbeing of those they support were their top priorities.

“We work very hard to provide the kindest possible care, and we are very sorry that we did not meet the high standard that was expected and deserved for this resident. We have apologised to the family in August and took immediate action to address the points raised. Over the last three years we have achieved a very good rating in each of our previous inspections, and we are very sorry this was not the experience of this resident.
“The Care Inspectorate have completed a full inspection of the home and we received very positive feedback on the day. We are confident the home continues to provide good quality care to residents, and will continue to work hard to ensure every resident receives the standard of care we pride ourselves on.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar regularly puts elderly care residents to Blar Buidhe. In a statement, Iain MacAulay, the Director of Social and Community Services, says he has asked for a meeting with Blar Buidhe as a matter of priority to discuss the matter.

He said: “I will express our concerns in relation to this case and explain that we will be putting in place additional monitoring measures to ensure that high standards of care are in place and maintained.
This Care Home received four grade 5 (very good) inspection grade results in a Care Inspectorate inspection earlier this year, including some positive feedback from residents and families. However, in this case the care received by this resident significantly fell short of this standard.”

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