Time To Get On With Gourock Route

15 September 2005
"The future of the Gourock - Dunoon route should be decided as soon as possible, delaying was unnecessary"

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith today condemned the Scottish Parliament's decision to back the tender of Caledonian MacBrayne services on the Clyde and Hebrides but called on the Scottish Executive to complete the tender of the Gourock - Dunoon service as soon as possible.

Commenting after Labour, the Liberals and the Conservatives agreed to tender the island services Mr Smith, who watched the debate, said

"I am extremely disappointed and can not see the sense in this decision at all. Those in the Executive who rebelled last time, and the Conservatives who opposed the move have now backed exactly the same package they rejected in December. Nothing has changed.

"The SNP have said ever since the Executive's defeat on the Clyde and Hebridean services in December that the plans for Gourock-Dunoon should not have been delayed. Everyone accepts this is a different situation and we want to see progress.

"For his own reasons the Minister decided to hold up the future of Gourock-Dunoon, now he's forced his colleagues to back a wrongheaded tender of the Clyde and Hebrides, perhaps we'll see some progress on this route as well.

"Tavish Scott seems to have no idea what he's doing with ferry services, he's forced a Cal Mac tender even he doesn't seem to want, postponed one that everyone does want and is being investigated for the Northlink tender.

"There is a lot of potential for the Gourock-Dunoon route, potential that must be grasped as soon as possible."