Letters to the editor

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Bus Samaritan thanks

Sir,

I wanted to thank the folk on last Thursday’s 14.45 number 23 bus from Oban. I foolishly stood up too soon approaching the Kilmartin stop and fell forward, landing head to door and feet in the air.

Thank you to the doctor who checked me over, and to the driver and passengers who waited until I had been checked.

Janet Jardine, Kilmartin

Festival hard work

Sir,

I would like to give thanks to Tarbert Festivals Committee for all their hard work in organising the very successful Seafood Festival.

Tarbert Festival Queen 2018 Chloe MacDonald with her Princesses Cara and Kaitlyn were beautiful and a great credit to the festival.

My thanks again to everyone who helped in any way to make this year’s festival such an amazing event and to the very many people who visited the village for the occasion.

Councillor Anne Horn, Tarbert

Editor’s note: With apologies to Councillor Horn for the delay in publishing this letter, originally submitted in July.

Reconsider closure plans

Sir,

The closure of the tourist centres at Tarbert and Inveraray is very worrying and I can’t understand why VisitScotland, backed by the Scottish Government, came up with such a decision.

Tourism is extremely important to Argyll and Bute, and all agencies should be working together to assist the tourists that come to this area.

Tarbert is in my council ward and I know how valuable the centre there is. The wealth of experience and knowledge of the staff cannot be replaced.

I would certainly support a trust taking over the service, but firstly I would ask VisitScotland and Scottish Government to reconsider their closure plans.

Councillor Robin Currie, Kintyre and the Islands ward

Tarbert tourism continuity

Sir,

I am extremely disappointed over the proposed closure of the VisitScotland iCentre in Tarbert.

Michael Russel MSP, Tarbert and Skipness Community Trust and myself have had frequent discussions regarding the issue and I am hopeful that the interested parties will be able to offer a proposal that ensures continuity in the service, although perhaps in a different form.

Councillor Anne Horn, Kintyre and the Islands ward

Better school governance

Sir,

Deputy First Minister John Swinney is now requiring local authorities to devolve powers and budgets to local schools. If councils do not respond within the next year, he has vowed to legislate for improved school governance across the country.

The fear of making mistakes has led to an unwillingness to experiment and a total absence of diversity to suit individual communities. Local authorities have prevented head teachers and staff from running their schools and classes in their pupils’ true interests.

Councils have failed to recognise the very significant contribution which broadly constituted and empowered school councils could make to the overall education system. Schools have had little incentive to cut back wasteful expenditure.

The shortage of resources being allocated to education is, of course, partly to blame for the mess we are in, but it is by no means the whole story.

We now have an ideal opportunity to introduce governance reforms to ensure that policies are shaped to local circumstances; otherwise we could all well end up with more direction from St Andrew’s House.

Is it too much to hope that councillors and education officials in every education authority will now play their part in restoring Scotland’s state schools to their once iconic world status?

Angus Tulloch, Longniddry, East Lothian

George Hotel thanks

Sir,

Through your newspaper I would like to thank the staff Alex, Mark and Alex (number two) from the George Hotel in Inveraray.

Two guests staying at my holiday cottage in Cairnbaan lost their car keys while on a day trip to Inveraray. They searched all the places they had visited, including the George, but the keys were not found, so they returned to Cairnbaan by taxi.

Fortunately the hotel found the keys and managed to make contact with them, and they returned to Inveraray by taxi to collect the keys from the staff who had been kind enough to wait for them.

Once again I would to thank you for your help in making my guests’ stay memorable.

Pauline Houston, Crinan Canal Cottage

Island issues at show

Sir,

I was very happy to attend this year’s Islay, Jura and Colonsay Agricultural Show.

It was great to hear about the terrific work being done by the Islay Development Initiative with their Islay Pollinator Initiative which generates employment, including two Modern Apprentices in Beekeeping.

I spoke to local farmers about single farm payment delays, feed prices, fuel prices, broadband speed and the poor quality of our infrastructure. I also met with the Islay Book Festival team and heard from my constituents from across Islay, Jura and Colonsay about numerous local issues, all of which will addressed.

A huge thank you to all the hard-working volunteers who helped make this year’s show possible.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward