Ministers have work cut out

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The new islands and ferries ministers who have been appointed by the Scottish government are in for a baptism of fire.

Arran will not been the only island in Scotland which will be seeking urgent meetings with the new incumbents – new islands minister Mairi Gougeon and new ferries minister Graeme Dey.

Neither seems an obvious choice. Both represent seats in Angus – not known for its islands or ferries.


Mrs Gougeon was previously minister for public health and sport, so take your pick where her interest in island life lies – although she has previous experience in her other role of rural affairs.

Mr Dey is a 58-year-old Aberdonian, who has been an MSP for 10 years. A former sports journalist his only previous ministerial position was a junior post as minister for parliamentary businesses and veterans – so some knowledge of the CalMac ferries!

Now he has the big job as transport minister – which is still a junior role – and has been handed the hot potato of resolving all of the CalMac multifarious ferry issues.

They are certainly both going to have full in-trays in the days and months ahead.


Meanwhile, there was at least a crumb of good news this week that finally Arran is to have a new port of refuge which may actually be used.

In recent years the use of Gourock has been more and more infrequent in bad weather – in part because the linkspan was broken for a long time and partly by the reluctance of CalMac to use the diversion.

Let’s hope the new port at Troon will see fewer cancellations in bad weather – but don’t count on it.