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Also in the news / Vaccine passports, ferry concern, straw dancers, metal recycling award and more

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has pushed for assurances from government that a clear vote would be held before any mandatory vaccine passports were imposed on individuals and businesses.

The Liberal Democrat raised the issue in Parliament this week after the government suggested it “reserved the right” to impose ID checks on businesses despite no approval having been sought from MPs.

Speaking after the debate in Westminster, Carmichael said: “We need a national campaign this summer to scrap these authoritarian proposals.

“Liberal Democrats will oppose illiberal vaccine passport plans – no ifs, no buts.”


MEANWHILE Northern Isles MSPs Liam McArthur and Beatrice Wishart have sought assurances that sufficient contingency will be in place to allow Orkney and Shetland’s freight needs to be met over the coming months.

It was in response to Transport Scotland’s confirmation this week that a short-term charter has been agreed for the MV Arrow to provide additional services on the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry route operated by CalMac.

The Northern Isles MSPs raised concerns that the charter of the MV Arrow – which has often provided additional freight capacity for Shetland and Orkney – could have “a knock-on impact” on Northern Isles’ producers.


Rob Heaslip’s Strawboys. Featuring dancers (left to right) Jack Anderson and Tess Letham. Photo: Amy Sinead

“LUMINOUS straw dancers whirling to Balkan inspired beats” will be coming to Shetland for a series of free performances in the coming weeks.

Strawboys, from Rob Heaslip, explores rituals of death, life and birth amongst the Gaels, the people on the north-western edge of Europe.

The work is said to be a unique spin on the cultural tradition of ‘The Strawboys’, also known as Mummers, Guisers, Burdie Boys and Skekklers.

The performance – which is suitable for all ages and unticketed – features a number of professional dancers.

There will be two performances at Mareel on 28 July and 3 August at 12.30pm, and at the South Mainland Pool on 29 July at 2.30pm.

Also on 29 July the dancers will head to the Scalloway Pool for 4.30pm. On 30 July at 2.05pm there will be a performance at the West Mainland Leisure Centre before they head to the Skeld caravan site at 4.30pm.

There are also performances listed for the Yell Leisure Centre (12pm) and Old Haa Museum (2pm) on 31 July and the Brae leisure centre on 1 August at 12.30pm.


 A METAL recycling company which has a base in Lerwick has won a national award.

John Lawrie was named metal recycling business of the year at the 2021 awards for excellence in recycling and waste management.

Managing director Dave Weston said: “We are lucky to have such a dedicated and hard-working team who are always willing to go above and beyond to keep the business moving forward.”


THE UNIVERSITY of the Highlands and Islands has been rated positively for its response to Covid-19 in a UK-wide survey of students.

The National Student Survey found that the university performed significantly above average in both the Scottish and UK sector in all questions relating to Covid.

Highlands and Islands Students’ Association president Flo Jansen said it was “reassuring to hear that the majority of our students have felt prioritised over the past year”.