News & Events

Skye ministers urge rethink on Raasay decision

February 21, 2013

Free Church of Scotland ministers on the Isle of Skye have written an open letter to their MSPs urging them to reverse the decision to lease the shooting and fishing rights of The Raasay Crofters’ Association to a stalking firm in South Ayrshire.

Ministers argued that the benefit to the local community far outweighed the £2,000 which the crofters lost the bid by, and were also critical that the decision was made by unelected civil servants.

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The letter reads:  “We were disappointed to hear from a Scottish Government minister that at the end of the day the money was the issue.

“We urge you to do all in your power to reverse this decision.

“It is a deep concern that the responsibility of this has been laid at the door of civil servants.

“You will all be aware that it is difficult to make money at the margins and The Raasay Crofters’ Association have made great progress in developing the sporting rights in Raasay to the benefit of the crofters and the community. The benefit certainly outstrips the mere £2,000 which is at stake.

“The Free Church has historically supported crofters’ rights against oppressive landlords.

“We consider this recent development a gross injustice against the local crofters of Raasay.”

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There are six Free Church congregations on the Isle of Skye, including one on Raasay, which is currently without a minister.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear MSPs,

We write regarding the loss of the shooting rights on Raasay by the The Raasay Crofters’ Association.

It is our understanding that the lease has been granted to South Ayrshire Stalkers. It is also our understanding through media reports that the difference in the bid was £2,000.

We were disappointed to hear from a Scottish Government minister that at the end of the day the money was the issue.

We urge you to do all in your power to reverse this decision.

It is a deep concern that the responsibility of this has been laid at the door of civil servants.

You will all be aware that it is difficult to make money at the margins and The Raasay Crofters’ Association have made great progress in developing the sporting rights in Raasay to the benefit of the crofters and the community. The benefit certainly outstrips the mere £2,000 which is at stake.

The Free Church has historically supported crofters’ rights against oppressive landlords. We consider this recent development a gross injustice against the local crofters of Raasay.

Yours Sincerely,

Rev Donnie G MacDonald, Portree Free Church, Isle of Skye
Rev John MacLean, Trotternish Free Church, Isle of Skye
Rev Gordon Matheson, Sleat and Strath Free Church, Isle of Skye
Rev Daniel Sladek, Duirinish Free Church, Isle of Skye

Free Church of Scotland ministers on the Isle of Skye.

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