Thu 1 Jul, 2021

Seeing the positive impact of Green MSPs in the Scottish parliament, I concluded that now was the time for me to be part of the Greens for Change movement. Roddy MacKay

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Councillor, Roddy MacKay has joined the Scottish Greens and hopes to stand for the party at next year’s council elections.

Cllr MacKay has been an independent councillor, representing the Uibhist a Tuath agus Beinn na Faoghla, Benbecula and North Uist Ward, since 2017.  

"We're delighted that Roddy has joined us and look forward to working together, especially in fighting the absurd HIAL ATMS proposals.” said Cllr Steve Sankey from Orkney who was the first Scottish Green to be elected to an Island Council in 2017. Cllr John Ross Scott also recently joined the Orkney Greens but sits as an Independent.

As well as local politics, Roddy is also widely known as the founder of the local Eilean Dorcha Festival (EDF), a hugely successful music festival which has raised over £2m for the local economy since 2016. While the event has suffered the same fate as all others during the pandemic, plans are already well underway for a spectacular return next summer for its 5th birthday.

Roddy is especially passionate about education and earlier this year successfully campaigned against the local authority’s attempt to place an Executive Head into the islands secondary schools, thus ensuring that Castlebay School in Barra, Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula, Sir E Scott School in Harris and the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway retained their own head teachers.

He is also a board member of Hebridean Housing Partnership and local housing and energy agency, Tighean Innse Gall, as well as vice-chair of the council’s Gàidhlig Committee.

Cllr MacKay operates an open-door policy and has made a name for himself as a champion of openness and accountability.

In a statement issued today (Thursday 1st July), he said: “Since returning home to the Outer Hebrides over ten years ago, I have had a burning desire to conserve our fragile community, to protect and preserve our ever-diminishing machair land, and to celebrate and safeguard our unique culture and heritage.

“I firmly believe that the Scottish Greens are the party leading the drive for a positive future that will be particularly vital to our islands in the post-Covid years.

“Seeing the positive impact of Green MSPs in the Scottish parliament, I concluded that now was the time for me to be part of the Greens for Change movement.

“It is only right, however, that – since the people of Benbecula and North Uist voted me onto the council as an independent councillor – I should continue my work as an independent until the May 2022 elections.

“My aim over the forthcoming year will be to work with like-minded councillors to bring about change in the way Uist and Benbecula are represented.”

He added: “The islands have endured a particularly bad couple of years economically through the pandemic and the farcical situation regarding travel continues to be a massive issue.

“The devastating news that HIAL is attempting to downgrade Benbecula airport by implementing proposals to change the level of Air Traffic Service (ATS) provision from an Air Traffic Control (ATC) service to an Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) and the subsequent job losses will have a seriously detrimental impact on the local economy. The lack of capacity and service of ferries to and from these islands requires urgent resolution.

“The people of Uist and Benbecula need the support of a party that will challenge the Scottish Government to provide the lifeline services we deserve and not have to settle for the third-rate service we are being forced to tolerate at the moment.”

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