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Fair Isle crisis meeting

FAIR Isle residents facing bankruptcy after the collapse of an Orkney building firm are holding an emergency meeting with local MSP Tavish Scott and senior council figures to look for help.

Several local households that provided accommodation and other services to Andrew H Wilson stand to lose tens of thousands of pounds owed by the company, which called in the receivers this month.

The company had almost completed the £4 million Fair Isle bird observatory (FIBO) when it went into administration, blaming bad weather last winter that caused delays and extra expense.

The new observatory, which attracts ornithologists from all over the world, opened this week saying it would do what it could to help the local businesses that had lost out. They are able to house guests, but the warden’s accommodation and other parts of the project remain unfinished.

The island’s residents have chartered a special flight to take them to Shetland mainland on Monday to meet Mr Scott, Shetland Islands Council convener Sandy Cluness, SIC head of economic development Neil Grant, Shetland South local councillors, local directors of FIBO and the other agencies involved in the observatory.

Any islanders unable to make the flight will be able to attend the meeting at Lerwick’s Hayfield House via videolink.

Fair Isle resident Kathy Coull said that the impact of the company’s collapse was becoming more apparent every day. “We have to take whatever action we can and that is why we are having this meeting,” she said.

“Even if the weather prevents us getting there, at least we have the technology to enable us to participate. Our geographic isolation does not prevent us from having full representation at this, or future meetings.”

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