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In a reply to a letter from Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, in which the MSP questioned the decision to send the Hamnavoe to Norway after the UK airspace had reopened, John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, said that he had considered cancelling the sailing, but decided not to because of the uncertainty over the implications of the decision to let the airlines fly again. But Liam McArthur has said that, when the minister visits Orkney on Monday, he must leave with a clear message that that Orkney's lifeline ferry services cannot be left at the mercy of Ministerial whim or decree.
In his reply, John Swinney said that the Scottish Government was aware of the CAA decision to lift the flying restrictions at 8.20 pm on the 20th April, nearly 4 hours before midnight when the Hamnavoe actually left Stromness. He cited the 272 bookings for the sailings from Bergen to Aberdeen and the likely delay in flights getting back to normal as reasons for sticking with the plan to take the Hamnavoe off the Pentland Firth service for two days to allow her to sail to Norway.
Commenting, Liam McArthur said, "I am disappointed that the minister still does not accept that he made the wrong decision. His acknowledgement that he considered cancelling the Norway trip when the planes started flying again shows that he accepts that the need for the trip had become debateable. Indeed, nearly half of the 272 who had booked then cancelled, as he told Parliament that only 157 people actually sailed on the Hamnavoe from Bergen.
"On Monday John Swinney will be in Orkney to meet the Council and others. I will be at that meeting and want to make sure that the minister is left in no doubt that hijacking the Hamnavoe was not acceptable. He must head south with it quite clear in his mind that, whatever, the Icelandic volcano sends in our direction over the coming months, Orkney must not be left again without any NorthLink ferries."
Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the formal reopening, earlier today, of the Self Catering Unit at the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. Speaking after attending the event, Liam McArthur said, "I was delighted to be able to attend the formal reopening today of the isles accommodation in the Aberdeen Maternity hospital. "This project was only possible thanks to the generosity of the communities in Orkney and Shetland, and the phenomenal drive of a small number of individuals, notably Janette Park. It was a real pleasure to see first hand what has been achieved thanks to the fundraising efforts of Janette and the others involved. "For those who need to attend the Maternity Hospital in Aberdeen, and their families, there is now the reassurance that however long they need to stay south, they can now do so in genuine comfort. "This refurbishment was much needed and is long overdue. However, have seen what has been achieved, it is tempting to say that it's been worth the wait."
As much as you don't understand or even hate it, politics still plays a very important role in your life. Almost all of the aspects of your life are decided through politics, so it is quite important for everyone to get involved in it and not only vote, but make politicians make decisions in favor of you, the people. Escorts Scotland are always in the first rows in protests and are always voting for those choices that are the best for everyone and not only them or a certain group of people. That is what makes a good citizen, but first let's understand how government works and what parliaments like the Scottish one are made of. After you find out, you can go and find yourself a nice escort that can show you how you can influence politicians and make them realize what is more important.
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2017 Liam McArthur MSP for Orkney