The Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:59:10 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Man appears in dock over drug offences Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:59:10 +0000 A man from Edinburgh has been released on bail after appearing in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Euan McArthur stood before Honorary Sheriff Arnold Duncan charged with supplying controlled drugs on the NorthLink ferry as it sailed north from Aberdeen on Sunday night.

He was committed for further examination.

Fishermen’s leader slams ‘feeble’ Brexit negotiating efforts Mon, 19 Mar 2018 17:10:34 +0000 Scottish fishing chiefs have blasted plans for UK fisheries during the transition period out of the EU – with a Shetland representative describing the negotiations as “feeble”.

On Monday the EU and Britain agreed a draft Brexit transition deal which will mean Britain will follow EU fishing regulations during the transition period.

The UK will also only be able to consult on changes to fishing rules and will be consulted on fishing changes affecting the UK in that period.

The deal was to be rubber-stamped this week and the transition period will end on New Year’s Day 2020.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said the announcement fell “far short of an acceptable deal”.

“We will leave the EU and leave the CFP [Common Fisheries Policy], but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later. Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the EU for another two years.

“Put simply, we do not trust them to look after us. So we issue this warning to the EU: be careful what you do or the consequences later will be severe. To our politicians we say this: some have tried to secure a better deal but our governments have let us down.

“As a consequence, we expect a written, cast-iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the EU continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual Coastal States negotiations.”

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins – negotiating stance leaves the industry “very vulnerable”.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief Simon Collins said the government had also handed control of British waters straight back to the EU.

“It leaves us very vulnerable,” he said.

“It says we are consulted, but it it’s a long way from sovereignty.”

Mr Collins said Britain would be consulted “on what we can catch in our own waters in that period”, and “as far as negotiations go, it’s pretty feeble negotiations”.

Politicians had collectively fallen short, he said, and the UK government was going to have to rebuild its trust with the fishing industry.

The Shetland fishing boss said on leaving the EU, under international law, and the UK government’s previous position, the UK would have control of its waters.

The fishing industry had gone from a strong position to a difficult one, he claimed.

“What we need to do as an industry… is to ensure that we get a concrete, written in stone, guarantee that we are leaving in 2020”. That would allow something to plan ahead with, Mr Collins said.

As far as the local industry was concerned, he hoped the impact would be limited.

“It’s as if there’s the first whiff of gun smoke and up goes the white flag. Even if you don’t care about fishing you worry about other things [in the Brexit negotiations].

“It puts us in a very difficult position for the interim period.”

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Health chiefs order probe after revealing vaccines were kept at wrong temperature Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:34:12 +0000 An investigation has been launched and hundreds of patients are being contacted after vaccines were found to have been stored in health centre fridges at the wrong temperature.

A routine check at the Lerwick Health Centre on 19th February found some vaccines had been kept above the recommended temperature range of between 2ºC and 8ºC for short periods since 1st August last year.

NHS staff have apologised and offered reassurances. They insist the vaccines will not cause any harm if given to patients but warn they may not provide the level of immunity required.

Director of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram apologised to anyone affected by the problem with vaccines. Photo: Ryan Taylor

A case by case review has identified 171 children and teenagers and 91 adults who will be offered re-vaccinations.

Those affected will be predominantly from Lerwick, although a “very small” number of people who have moved away are also being contacted.

The flu vaccine has not been affected and no re-vaccination for flu is required.

Letters have been sent out notifying patients. A dedicated telephone number – 01595 743324 – has been set up for anyone seeking further advice. The number will be staffed during health centre opening times. The first re-vaccination clinic has already been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

The vaccines involved prevent the potentially serious diseases of tetanus, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, haemophilus influenza B, hepatitis B, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease, measles, mumps, rubella and rotavirus infections.

Other vaccines affected include the shingles vaccine for older people and some travel vaccines.

Top-ranking staff at NHS Shetland revealed the problems and announced the moves to address it this morning.

Director of community health and social care, Simon Bokor-Ingram said there were two parts to the message he wanted to convey to patients.

“One is reassurance. Firstly, having had the vaccine that was in this affected period of time, that wouldn’t have caused any harm.

“We’re taking this really seriously and are acting on it, and anyone who needs re-vaccination will be contacted.

“The second part of it is a sincere apology. We’re really sorry that this has happened, because we appreciate this can cause anxiety. It can create a lack of confidence in what we are doing, and we’re really sorry this has happened.”

Asked exactly what had gone wrong, he replied: “I think at this stage we’re doing a full investigation. It would be wrong to draw conclusions at this stage.
Clearly we did have a system and a process in place, but it didn’t work. We’ve done a lot of testing of equipment. We’re looking at the human angle as well.

“Until that’s concluded it would be wrong to draw conclusions.”

Mr Bokor Ingram said concerns raised by nursing staff led to more testing of the fridge. He added the vaccines were taken out to allow a team led by director of pharmacy Chris Nicolson to do more checks on the fridge over a number of days. That found that the temperature was fluctuating.


Whilst we have systems in place to prevent such events it is clear that on this occasion these did not work as intended. We are thoroughly investigating this so that we can minimise the risk of this happening again. SIMON BOKOR-INGRAM


Action has been taken to ensure the fridge temperatures in Lerwick are now being “appropriately monitored” to ensure they are maintained within the correct range.

However, Mr Bokor Ingram said no other health centre was affected by the problem.

“We’ve done a check on all the other nine health centres and are assured that their fridges are working properly, so we’ve done that.”

Chief community nurse Edna Mary Watson said investigations were normally completed within a four-week time period.

“Any investigation might cause us to look into other issues as we become aware of them. It’s difficult to give an exact time-frame, but the reality is we’ll probably be looking at four to six weeks.”

In a statement, Mr Bokor-Ingram said: “I am very sorry that this situation has arisen, and particularly for affected patients and parents.

“Whilst we have systems in place to prevent such events it is clear that on this occasion these did not work as intended. We are thoroughly investigating this so that we can minimise the risk of this happening again.

“Our priority is to move quickly to offer re-vaccination to those affected, and I am grateful to our staff who have reacted with speed to this situation, with our first re-vaccination clinic happening on Saturday 24th March.”

Director of public health for NHS Shetland and NHS Grampian, Susan Webb, said: “Our concern is that the effectiveness of the vaccines may have been compromised so they may not provide the necessary long-term protection that was intended.

“The expert advice we have received is that boosters should be offered as a precautionary measure, and we can reassure patients and parents that there is no significant risk from additional doses of vaccine.

“The welfare of patients remains our highest priority, and we are satisfied that re-vaccination is the best way to ensure long-term protection against infection. We would urge patients and parents to take up the appointments offered by the practice.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause but would remind patients that immunisation remains the best way to protect against infection.”

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Government must stop putting isles in a box, demands Scott Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:59:22 +0000

MSP Tavish Scott wants the Scottish government to guarantee its maps will not put Shetland in a box.

Legislation should be passed that stops Shetland being put “in a box” in official Scottish government publications.

That is the view of isles MSP Tavish Scott who says the geographical error is not just irksome but would show the government takes “island proofing” seriously.

Mr Scott has tabled an amendment to the Islands Bill that would ensure that official publications put Shetland in its rightful place. The bill focuses on provisions designed to strengthen and protect Scotland’s island communities.

The MSP says he has seen Shetland on official maps placed in a box either in the Moray Firth or just off the northeast coast of the Scottish Mainland.

He said: “Shetlanders are rightly irked when they see Shetland placed in a box in the Moray Firth. I strongly believe the Scottish government should portray the country it serves with accuracy.

“The principle is important here.

“A recent Scottish government strategy on loneliness made this geographical mistake. I asked Scotland’s most senior civil servant to correct the error.

“But from now on, I want to ensure that mistake just cannot happen. Putting Shetland in its appropriate place would go some way to rectifying the perception that the islands are an afterthought. It will visually align the government with its stated political commitment to island proofing.”

The Islands Bill amendments will be debated next Wednesday in Holyrood.

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Fetlar house fire Sun, 18 Mar 2018 13:25:06 +0000 Three fire crews were called to a house fire in Fetlar on Saturday night.

Firefigthers were called to the scene at about 9.10pm.

A fire service spokesman said there was a fire in the kitchen and living room of a home, which was close to the fire station.

Two hose reel jets were used as well as breathing apparatus and a safety jet to tackle the blaze.

Fire engines from Unst and Yell attended as well as a support vehicle from Lerwick.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said the stop message came in at 22.54pm and they were not aware of any injuries.

The last fire crew left the scene at 12.07am.

Early sailing from Aberdeen Sat, 17 Mar 2018 10:41:28 +0000 Poor weather means Saturday night’s northbound ferry sailing will be leaving Aberdeen an hour early.

The Hjaltland will depart Aberdeen at 4pm, sailing for Kirkwall and Lerwick.

NorthLink Ferries said arrival into Kirkwall may slightly delayed.




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WATCH: Delting Up-Helly-A’ 2018 procession and burning Fri, 16 Mar 2018 22:23:45 +0000

Guizer Jarl Andrew Hall and his squad led the way through the biting wind as hundreds of guizers took part in the evening procession for Delting Up-Helly-A’ 2018.

Mr Hall, 51, of Burravoe, Brae, channelled his alter ego Halfdan Ragnarrson most convincingly within the galley Fragar.

Starting at Brae Hall, the torchbearing revellers marched along the main road, past the school and the leisure centre, before arriving at the burning site around 8pm.

Despite the cold (the bitter, bitter cold…), smiles lit up faces all around when the galley finally succumbed to the flames and bobbed ablaze through the water.

Once the fireworks began to die down overhead, the crowd made its way back to the warmth – and a night of merriment in the halls.

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WATCH: Guizer Jarl Halfdan Ragnarsson leads Delting Up-Helly-A’ 2018 Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:27:17 +0000

The final Up-Helly-A’ festival of 2018 began with a breezy start in Brae this morning.

Guizer Jarl Andrew Hall, aka Halfdan Ragnarsson, led from the front for the 37th Delting Up-Helly-A’.

His 44-strong squad’s first outing was to the Northern Lights Function Room for speeches and refreshments.
Brae Hall was the next port of call for pictures with the galley Fragar, before visits to Lunnasting, Brae and Mossbank schools.

The schoolchildren were delighted to hear the squad’s upbeat Ska anthems – as were many of the teachers, it seemed.

Brae Primary School headteacher Billy Forsyth said he could not remember a better performance from a squad in the 10 years of their visits.

Lunch provided by Enquest followed at the Mossbank Hall.

This afternoon, the squad will visit Northhaven Care Centre, the Mid Brae Inn and Voe Hall, where the squad will have tea with family, friends and invited guests.

Tonight, the procession will be held in Brae, with light up at 7.30pm. The squads will then make their way around the halls in the Delting area, with the Brae Hall, Delting Boating Club, Mossbank Hall, Voe Hall and Vidlin Hall all open to host what will no doubt be a lively, entertaining and memorable evening.

Thanks to Danny Peterson for the report.

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Talking Sport … with Jim Tait Fri, 16 Mar 2018 11:24:41 +0000 There has been an interesting development for tomorrow’s senior badminton inter-county against Orkney which will see singles matches played for the first time.

Kevin Smith and Roy Wood will represent Shetland in the men’s event while Chloe Hitchen and Amy Sineath will contest the women’s singles.

The overall competition has also been increased in size with a total of 26 matches instead of the previous 12. Every player will have to play four rounds now, either two level doubles and two mixed doubles or one singles, one level doubles and two mixed doubles.

This year’s squad covers an astonishing age range with 43 years separating the oldest player from the youngest.

Overall there is one teenager, five in their early 20s, two in their 40s and four in their 50s. Which makes you wonder: whatever happened to the players in the 25-40 bracket?

Competition between Shetland and Orkney was very even between 1948, the first year of the event, and 1977, but after that the blues enjoyed an incredible period of dominance. Apart from one Orkney victory in 1985 Shetland won every match from 1978 up to 2012.

The Orcadians finally got hold of the Inkster Cup again in 2013, and they also won it last year, so there are signs that the sides are now becoming much more even.

Another feature of this year’s contest is the fact that the B inter-county match, normally played on a separate date, will be run simultaneously with the A tournament. The Shetland B team is again an intriguing mix of youth and experience with The Shetland Times newsroom all-rounder Andrew McQuarrie making his debut.

Good luck to perennial veterans Gordon and Graham Keith, Colin Grant, Kevin Smith, Audrey Leask, Anne Wood and Zoe Anderson, who must have racked up nearly 200 inter-county appearances between them.

Best wishes also to the youthful Chloe Hitchen, Liam Flaws, Rory Irvine and Lewis Fraser. A tough battle faces them all tomorrow.

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It was another disappointing showing by the Scottish rugby team on Saturday, losing 28-8 to an Irish side who have now won the Six Nations championship with a game to spare.

But at least the Scots showed this time they could hold their own, a contrast from the first game in the tournament when they were surprisingly outclassed by Wales.

The most annoying thing about the weekend’s result was that the points tally did not reflect a true picture. Scotland gifted the Irish their first try and then coughed up at least two opportunities themselves, one of which looked a certain seven points.

A 21-15 score would have been a much fairer outcome. While there is no doubt the Irish deserved to win the margin should have been much closer.

This Irish team now looks to have almost become the new England. They are powerful in all departments and the constant pressure applied eventually seems to wear the opposition down, a far cry from the men in green who struggled so much in the first years of the professional era.

I don’t think there is any doubt that Scotland are currently the most attractive team in the Six Nations, performing in very much the same style which head coach Gregor Townsend was famous for in his own playing days.

To mount a serious challenge to the English and Irish sides, however, they need to become more patient. While it would be a shame to see some of the flamboyance sacrificed, a gung-ho approach will never secure titles.

The Scots will now need a bonus-point win over Italy to give them a chance of third place in the tournament. That may well prove extremely difficult as the Italians usually target Scotland as the team they can beat, and last weekend they were the better side against Wales for over half the game before caving in late on.

Townsend has surprisingly made five changes for tomorrow’s match. Bringing back Tommy Seymour for Blair Kinghorn, the try scorer against Ireland, may seem harsh on the youngster but that was probably expected.

More eye-catching is the decision to replace Peter Horne with Nick Grigg at centre. Horne may have been culpable for the first Irish try at the weekend but his overall performance, after the way he played in the wins over France and England, was by no means a failure.

Townsend has also restored prop W P Nel and hooker Fraser Brown to the starting line-up. The former is presumably to give the side more experience in the set piece while the latter’s inclusion is likely due to Stuart McInally’s inaccurate throwing against Ireland.

McInally has come on leaps and bounds this season in the scrums and the loose, but he must begin to find his line-out jumpers more consistently if he wants to cement his place in the side.

I would just about fancy Scotland to get the required result in Rome but it certainly won’t be easy.

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Heard the one about the three former football referees on the council and the one still blowing his whistle?

That won’t be the case for much longer, as I’m reliably informed that Stephen Leask has told the referees committee chief that he will be retiring.

Stephen would like it to be noted how much he enjoyed his time officiating in local football, and made so many friends during that time including players, managers and association members.

He says he intends to go back to golf which he describes as “a bit more pedestrian”. Presumably he’s speaking just for himself, as I’ve seen a few referees in recent years who would struggle to get round 18 holes.

While he’s dished out many a card during his time in the middle, perhaps Stephen will now get a few retirement ones. Perhaps not from ex-players though.

: : : : : : : :

New Scottish football manager Alex McLeish has rung the changes with his first squad announced on Monday for the forthcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary.

A new captain will now have to be found since Scott Brown has once again called time on his international career. McLeish hinted that Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, who led the side in the last friendly against Holland, could continue in the role and few would argue with that choice.

With Manchester United’s Scott McTominay now committed to playing for the country of his parents the strength in midfield is such that there is no place for another former skipper, Darren Fletcher. While McLeish said the door remained open to all but Brown, at the age of 34 Fletcher may be unable to find a way back.

It was also good to see Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna and Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney called up, although by way of contrast the new manager has brought back centre halves Russell Martin and Grant Hanley, neither of whom have ever given much cause for confidence.

The most worrying area is up front in the absence of the injured Leigh Griffiths. Oliver McBurnie may be enthusiastic but is very raw, while I doubt the Costa Rican and Hungarian defences will lose any sleep over the prospect of facing Jason Cummings or Matt Phillips.

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It would take some kind of weird analyst to understand the behaviour of former Liverpool and England footballer Jamie Carragher, caught on camera spitting at a girl in a car at the weekend.

Carragher, who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports, was on his way home from the Manchester United v Liverpool match.

As he slowed down at a junction a fellow driver apparently got his attention, whereby Carragher wound his window down.

The man appears to have filmed himself goading Carragher by continually shouting the words “Two-one Jamie, two-one!” And the pundit responded by unleashing a torrent of saliva through the open window, allegedly hitting the man’s daughter who was in the passenger seat.

Carragher was immediately suspended by Sky until the end of the season, and there is no indication if and when he will get his job back. The station has already shown zero-tolerance towards presenters who misbehave, illustrated by the swift exit of Andy Gray and Richard Keys a few years ago.

This will obviously never happen, but personally I reckon Carragher should be given a slap on the wrist and reinstated, on the condition he gives half his inflated salary to charity for the next couple of years and with the warning that he does not step out of line again.

As for the idiot in the car, who was using his mobile while driving and showing complete disregard for the rules, he should have his licence removed for a while.

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WATCH: Husband and wife take their brand of US rock and roll to Mareel gig Fri, 16 Mar 2018 11:14:54 +0000 Soulful Americana/rock and roll band Birds of Chicago are to bring their songs and sounds to Shetland this summer for the only Scottish date of their forthcoming tour.

The husband-and-wife team of JT Nero and Allison Russell, who was part of the Canadian group Po’ Girl, will perform with their full band at Mareel on 20th May.

Following the success of their gospel-influenced 2016 album Real Midnight, late last year Birds of Chicago released a well-received EP American Flowers and this year will tour in support of their latest long-player Love in Wartime.

The group describe their new work – released on Signature Sounds on 4th May – as a “sprawling rock and roll circus of an album”.

Friends of the band including Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids and Maya de Vitry of The Stray Birds appear on Birds of Chicago’s recent recordings.

Birds of Chicago have been performing around 200 shows a year since 2013 and, after all that shaping and sharpening on the road, recorded Love in Wartime in Chicago against “a backdrop of bewilderment, deep divide and dread”.

In that context, Russell said: “We want to give people some good news, and we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”

Nero added: “A good show can send you back out into the night feeling – for at least a little while – that everything isn’t broken. Right now, we wanna dose out as much of that feeling as we can.”

Nero said both he and Allison were “roughly half Scottish – Robertsons on Alli’s side, Lindsays and Sinclairs on mine” and “after a quick, lazy Wikipedia search, I am fairly certain that I am a direct descendant of William Sinclair, first Earl of Caithness”.

“I am not entirely sure if that makes me an Earl as well; I hope someone will inform me if so!” he said.

“Regardless, we are extremely excited to come to Shetland, an island of such rough beauty and living history. We cannot wait to come.”

Tickets are selling briskly already and Neil Riddell of local promoters Ragged Wood says it is one of the gigs he is looking forward to most in 2018.

“As soon as I heard Real Midnight I knew we had to get this band to Shetland,” he said.

“Anyone who enjoyed the great vocal harmonies of previous visiting bands like The Lone Bellow and The Stray Birds will find a lot to love in
these guys.”

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