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Also in the news / NorthLink concern to be raised in Commons, Foula flights back to normal, Cleeves to open library, fishing discussion, Bahá’í event

NORTHLINK’s decision to remove the islander discount on meals and drinks on board its ferries will be raised in the House of Commons in the form of a parliamentary motion to highlight concern about the move, isles MP Alistair Carmichael has said.

Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

The motion reads: “That this House notes with concern NorthLink Ferries’ decision to cut islander discounts on food and drink on its ferries to and from the Northern Isles; recognises that ferry services are a lifeline transport link for islanders and are generally the only affordable travel option for those who use them, with journeys lasting several hours; understands that this decision was taken without notice or consultation with local people; notes that the Islands Act passed by the Scottish Parliament is intended to ensure that policy changes are ‘island proofed’ to avoid such outcomes; and calls upon NorthLink Ferries to reverse its decision and consult with isles representatives and local people to resolve their grievances about this change.”


INTER-island flight operator Airtask has confirmed that full services to Foula have resumed after new legislation was introduced by the CAA.

There were “extreme limitations”, including weight restrictions, imposed once the airstrip in Foula was classified as wet.

Airtask confirmed on Thursday that all works have been undertaken and approval has now been gained to allow full services to resume.

“We would like to thank the residents of Foula for their support and patience during the period of disruption; we are acutely aware how critical this lifeline service is for the residents and have worked extremely hard to resolve this issue with as little disruption as possible,” the flight operator said.

“We are particularly grateful to those that have assisted with the physical works which were necessary and required movement of equipment as well as materials.

“Working together as a team, with all parties involved, we have managed to resolve an extremely complex situation with thankfully only short term disruption to the services.

“Our priority is, and will always be, the safety of our passengers on these critical services.”


AUTHOR Ann Cleeves will formally open the new Shetland Library next weekend.

The writer, who created the Jimmy Perez character, will cut a ribbon at 10am on Saturday 11 December before signing books.

She will be joined by Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell and George Smith, chairman of the education and families committee, to declare the building officially open.

There will also be two local book launches at the same event – Charlie Simpson will introduce his essay collection In Days Gone By, and Barbara Fraser launches Aye Someane Deid, Aye Someane Boarn, a collection of fiction and reminiscences in Shetland dialect.

The library opened to the public last month.


A PUBLIC event discussing issues facing fishermen in the North Sea, particularly discarded gear, is being held with Shetland’s political representatives later this month.

The event, being organised by Laurie Goodlad, is taking place at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick on 10 December at 11am.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart will attend and people are invited to come along and listen and join the debate.


THE LOCAL Bahá’í community has celebrated the centenary of the passing of the son of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet founder of the faith.

The commemoration, at Lerwick Town Hall on 26 November, included a screening of a film, a portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, entitled Exemplar, the performance by the Shetland Community Choir.

There was also a choral piece composed for the event by local music student Aleks McKay entitled Who am I?,  poems also written for the event by Nat Hall were read plus dramatised stories in connection with His visits to London in 1911 and 1912/13, as well as music.

Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the prophet founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is viewed by Bahá’ís and those who encountered Him as an example of how to “apply the teaching of kindness, justice, and service to others in their daily lives”.


A CHILDREN’s book set in Unst has been named as ‘children’s gift of the year’ by national retailer Waterstones.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston’s book Julia and the Shark explores a young girl’s search for the elusive Greenland Shark in Unst.

The pair said: “We are awed to be awarded this particular honour. We made this story to celebrate the natural world, to celebrate families, and to celebrate curiosity and strangeness.”

Every year Waterstones booksellers vote for the books they have most enjoyed recommending to their customers.