20th September 2018
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U-turn as coastguard staff are allowed to give evidence to Commons select committee

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The MCA has caved in to pressure after barring Shetland coastguard staff from giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.

There was an outcry last week when it emerged Lerwick employees were being prevented from giving oral evidence to MPs looking into coastguard station closures when they meet in Stornoway on Thursday.

They have now been allowed to attend, on condition that they do so as PCS Union representatives and not as coastguards.
Two accredited PCS members, Bob Skinley and Alex Dodge, are now preparing to travel to the Western Isles, where they will give evidence alongside colleagues from Stornoway and Aberdeen.

A statement from the two read: “While it seems to be a ridiculous exercise in splitting hairs, we are delighted to now have the proper opportunity to speak before the committee.

“Yet again the Government/MCA seem to have shot themselves in the foot over this but at least some common sense seems to have prevailed at last.”

The Shetland Times has already revealed the Lerwick station has been saved from closure, although there is still no word on whether it would be free to operate 24 hours a day. Protesters have continued their fight to retain the station in the absence of any official word.

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About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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