Letters to the editor – December 18, 2020

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Christmas gift of food

Sir,

As we approach the end of a year that has been unlike any other, I’m sure some of your readers, like myself, will be thinking of those we hold dear, who are unable to join the family Christmas meal this year.

I’d like to suggest a simple, last-minute gift that will help connect people in Argyll and Bute with their loved ones and feed hungry children around the world.

Mary’s Meals, a charity reaching more than 1.6 million children every day in some of the world’s poorest countries, is hosting a virtual Christmas dinner.  For just £15.90 – enough to feed a child every day for an entire school year – your readers can set a place at our table for their friends and family. Their name will appear online and we’ll provide a digital placemat to pass on as a present.

This year your gifts will go twice as far, with each place set now feeding two children with Mary’s Meals for an entire school year. Give until January 31 and public donations will be doubled by the UK Government, up to £2 million – meaning we can reach even more hungry children in Liberia with life-changing school meals.

Please visit marysmeals.org.uk/Christmas to set your place.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas.

Daniel Adams , executive director, Mary’s Meals UK

Lochgilphead needs a post office

Sir,

What happened to Lochgilphead postmaster Findlay Campbell was tragic.

But we need to get the post office service back.

I realise that a Post Office van comes up from Tarbert three days a week at the moment, but with a queue of 20 people having to stand in the cold and damp – as there was on a Wednesday recently – this is hardly conducive to the customers’ health, let alone convenience.

I trust something is being done to return this much-needed service to the town of Lochgilphead.

Celia MacFarlane, Lochgilphead

Woolly pledges on A83

Sir,

During questions to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson on Thursday December 10, I told the minister that people were exasperated with the condition of both the A82 and A83 after years of promises of investment in them.

Mr Matheson’s response, which mainly referenced plans to upgrade the A9 and the A96, will be of little comfort to residents and businesses in the West Highlands who are utterly dependent on the A82 and A83.

We have had more than enough woolly pledges over the years, usually made in the run-up to an election, which are then quietly forgotten afterwards, and I’m afraid that Michael Matheson’s response indicates that it will be business as usual as far as his government is concerned.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands MSP

People are not a commodity

Sir,

I found your article on ‘Tougher health cuts worry’ in the December 4 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser very difficult to read.

I was concerned about the statement attributed to Councillor Mulvaney saying: ‘It is the same things that are there – learning disability, older people and physical disability – all chunky sums of money at circa £500k to ££600k’.

Yes, they are chunky sums of money and have been on the agenda for some time.  However, we are talking about people; human beings who have various disabilities, learning, physical, and people who are older, something that will eventually happen to us all. People are not just a category for cost cutting, particularly those most vulnerable.

This statement could be interpreted in many ways. For me it reads that people with such disabilities and getting older are a drain on our resources, and we need to cut out the services we provide for them. It all sounds like they are a burden on the finances, and that has got to stop. All because the budget must be balanced…at any cost it seems.

My question to Councillor Mulvaney is quite simple – What you would do to address these particular costs? Decant everyone into another council area, or simply just hope that if services are cut so they cannot live in their own homes, or indeed anywhere within Argyll and Bute, they leave?

Perhaps CouncillorMulvaney has never experienced anyone with disabilities. I have, and unless one has that experience then putting a price on providing a quality service is impossible. Vulnerable people need support which gives them, as much as possible, some sort of a meaningful life. Maybe that is why costs cannot actually be cut, and there needs to be a complete re-think. People are not just a statistic, nor should they be apparently dismissed as a commodity that is costing too much.

If the HSCP does not have enough funding to deliver the services stated in the strategic plan, and to the standards it states, it needs to fight to get the correct level of funding from the Scottish Government, or perhaps look at itself and cut down on what I see are excessive layers of management, to make savings in order to deliver to the right level of all services within Argyll and Bute.

Heather A Grier, Cowal

Tunnel like the Faroese

Sir,

A tunnel in the Faroe Islands is almost complete. It is 11km long under the ocean floor, connecting two of the islands and slashing the travelling time from over an hour to 16 minutes.

They have started work on a second tunnel, now 60 per cent complete. The Faroe Islands is a self-governing part of Denmark in the north Atlantic, population approximately 48,000.

Argyll and Bute is part of a devolved government with a population of around 86,000 and a road link that for years has been subject to landslips and closure.

Surely if an archipelago in the north Atlantic can shorten travel times using innovative solutions, we deserve a road that stays open.

Ian Scott, Lochgilphead