Local SNP MP, Brendan O’Hara,has welcomed Calmac’s successful bid for Hebridean and West Coast ferries.
Mr OHara says: ‘I am delighted to hear that Calmac has been successful in their bid for the Hebridean and West Coast ferry contract. Our constituency contains a great number of lifeline routes which will continue to keep our island communities connected to the mainland and present excellent value for money. For the staff who work on these ferries day in day out, in the most challenging of conditions, this must be a huge relief. The biggest victory in this process has been securing vital local jobs within local communities.
‘Whilst this tendering process has been fraught with difficulties and controversy, it was a process that was necessary under EU law. However this process has proven that a publicly-owned operation can compete effectively in a highly competitive market whilst delivering value for money, investment and supporting integrated island and rural communities. Part of this bid includes a pledge to increase traffic by 10% which can only continue to benefit those communities together with the proposed community engagement schemes. This is a win-win for the public at large. I agree with my colleague Michael Russell MSP that “years of under investment by previous governments have led to a situation where there are regular difficulties on all routes because of shortage of vessels and lack of flexible options” but with two new ships under construction, we are beginning to see the process unfold.
‘We should also recognise the vast support Calmac has with the wider public and to the staff who consistently provide an excellent service onboard. Our services have been secured for the benefit of everyone and particularly our islanders for the next eight years and I look forward to continuing my constituency duties with the help and dedication of the staff at Calmac.’