Peaceful pensioner protest is snubbed

Protestor Rob Cowieson is interviewed on camera at the demonstration.

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A demonstration by around 40 pensioners voicing their frustration at the at the state of the island’s lifeline ferry service was snubbed by transport minister Graeme Dey during his visit to Arran last week.

The peaceful protestors gathered outside Ormidale Pavilion in the torrential rain with placards making their feelings known, as Mr Dey was meeting island representatives inside, but he did not make any attempt to meet them.

One protestor asked: ‘Was he really scared to meet a group of Arran pensioners?’

The demonstration was organised by Arran Ferry Action Group. A spokesman said: ‘Despite repeated, polite requests to meet with the new minister, the Arran Ferry Action Group has never received a reply.

‘On Friday when he visited Arran to meet with the ferry committee and selected others, he did not have the courtesy to engage with a group of around 40 pensioners who had gathered outside Ormidale Pavilion in persistent rain to express their dissatisfaction with our ferry service.

‘We await the official update from this meeting to discover what is planned for our lifeline service and how it will impact our community. Had we met with the Minister we would be reporting on the timescales for the Ardrossan and Troon works and details of further short-term chartering of additional vessels in order to provide some hope of improved resilience in the short term. We would also have asked him to consider the construction of a breakwater at Brodick to mitigate the problems caused by the disastrous orientation of the pier.

However, a Transport Scotland spokesman said afterwards: ‘We recognise the importance of engaging with the Community Board and local stakeholders and the minister is meeting with the Arran Ferry Committee, which represents the island interests around the service and the local authority. Transport Scotland, CalMac and CMAL have engaged with the Arran Ferry Action Group in correspondence and meetings.’


Protestor Rob Cowieson is interviewed on camera at the demonstration. 01_B39minister03