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Ferries

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th November 2019.

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Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

I thank Jamie Greene for the debate. He is right that somebody needs to bang on about ferries, and I take considerable pride in having been that someone. I cannot think of any issue that I have raised more frequently with ministers, and indeed with the First Minister, since being elected in 2007.

I recognise the public concerns that are referred to in the motion, not just in relation to the problems that are caused to individuals, businesses and communities in our islands and coastal areas from disruption to lifeline ferry services but, looking further ahead, in relation to the growing concerns about a lack of resilience in Scotland’s ferry network as a result of having an ageing fleet.

Mr Greene, Colin Smyth and others have understandably focused more of their remarks on what is happening on the west coast and in relation to the fall-out over the future of the Ferguson Marine yard. I assure the chamber that the concerns that are being highlighted today, which the minister seems to have airbrushed out through his amendment, are very much shared by the community that I represent in Orkney.

The minister will know that the internal ferry services in Orkney—