Government ministers to come and see Arran’s needs

MSP Mairi Gougeon.

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Arran is to get a visit from not one but two high-ranking Scottish government ministers next week.

First up is cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the islands Mairi Gougeon who will meet the Arran Recovery Group (ARG) members along councillors and officials of North Ayrshire Council on Thursday September 16.

The recovery group objective for the meeting was to ask for more focus on the issues in the Clyde islands in general and Arran in particular. The urgent need for affordable housing, in addition to the new council housing, see separate story, will also be high on the agenda.

The following day (Friday) transport minister Graeme Dey will be on the Arran to look at the issues around sustaining an island community which has several specific public service inequalities e.g. transport, housing and health.

It is understood the minister is travelling over to Arran to meet everyone and is spending time seeing the ports to get a greater understanding of the challenges.

A meeting to discuss the issues surrounding ferry services on Arran is to be held in Brodick, involving all the relevant parties: the Arran Ferry Committee members, ARG, the chair of the community council,  representatives of North Ayrshire Council, Transport Scotland and Arran MSP Kenneth Gibson.

It will be Ms Gougeon and Mr Dey’s first visit to the island since being appointed following the the Scottish parliament election in May.

In the third high profile visit of the week CalMac managing director Robbie Drummond is expected at the ferry committee on Monday night where he could face some tough questions on the lack of reliability of the Arran service and the subsequent cost to the economy.

Transport minister Graeme Dey MSP.