Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈkʰõ.ərˠʎə nə ˈɲelan ˈʃiəɾ], Scottish Gaelic for 'Council of the Western Isles') is the local government council for Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Outer Hebrides) council area of Scotland.[1][2] It is based in Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Full council election every 5 years
Coat of arms or logo
Logo
Type
Type
History
Founded1975
Leadership
Convener of the Council
Kenneth MacLeod, Scottish National Party
since 17 May 2022
Leader of the Council
Paul Steele, Independent
since 17 May 2022
Chief Executive
Malcolm Burr
since October 2005
Structure
Seats29
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar composition
Political groups
  Independent (22)
Elections
Single transferable vote
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
6 May 2027
Motto
Ardaichidh Fireantachd Cinneach (Scottish Gaelic: "Righteousness exalteth a nation")
Meeting place
Sandwick Road - geograph.org.uk - 1265542.jpg
The Comhairle's Stornoway offices (on the left)
Website
www.cne-siar.gov.uk

NameEdit

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the only local council in Scotland to have a Gaelic-only name. The original name, Western Isles Council, was retracted in 1997 under the Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997, and the former "Western Isles" council area is now officially named "Na h-Eileanan Siar", even in English language contexts.[1][2][3]

HistoryEdit

In 1975, the council was created as Western Isles Council, 57 years after the creation of Na h-Eileanan an Iar for elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (the constituency being named, when created, Western Isles). Since 1999, the area has also been represented by the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency of the Scottish Parliament, with the same boundaries.[4]

When the Bank of Credit and Commerce International collapsed in 1991, the then Western Isles Council lost £35m invested there, compelling a large increase in its council tax rate and leading to the resignation of Council Convener Donald Macauley.[5] Despite its initial losses, by 2012 the Council had gained a net profit of £1.5 million from dividend repayments due to favourable exchange rates.[6]

Representing Scotland's only majority Gaelic-speaking local authority area, the council pioneered the use of Gaelic-medium education in the 1980s. In 2020, Gaelic became the default language of instruction for all primary school pupils.[7]

In 1997, the Western Isles Council was renamed as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.[1][3][4]

ElectionsEdit

General elections to the council are held on a five-year cycle, the last were held in 2022.

From 1975 until 2007, council elections used the first past the post system of election; the last elections of this type elected 31 councillors, elected by 31 single-member wards.[8]

In 2007, under the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, the single transferable vote system, together with multi-member wards, was used for the first time, each ward electing three or four councillors. This system is designed to produce a degree of proportional representation.[8]

Political representationEdit

The 2022 election and subsequent by-elections resulted in the following composition:[9]

Party Seats
Independent 22
Scottish National Party 6
Conservative 1

LeadersEdit

Political LeadersEdit

No. Political Leader Party Period in office Election
1 Angus Campbell Independent 2008 - 2017 2007
2012
2 Roddie MacKay Independent 2017 - 2022 2017
3 Paul Steele Independent 2022 - present 2022

ConvenorsEdit

No. Convenor Party Period in office Election
1 Donald Macauley Independent 1974 - 1982 1974
1978
2 Sandy Matheson Independent 1982 - 1990 1982
1986
1 Donald Macauley Independent 1990 - 1991 1990
3 Donald MacLeod Independent 1991 - 1994 1990
4 Donald Mackay Independent 1994 - 1999 1994
5 Alex Macdonald Independent 1999 - 2012 1999
2003
2007
6 Norman MacDonald Independent 2012 - 2022 2012
2017
7 Kenneth MacLeod Scottish National Party 2022 - present 2022

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Areas of Scotland" Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine ourscotland.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Place-names of Scotland" Archived 2009-10-26 at the Wayback Machine scotlandsplaces.gov.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b Department of Education (January 2008) "Review of Educational Provision and the Comhairle's Future Strategy for the Schools Estate: Daliburgh School, Isle of South Uist" Archived 2010-07-09 at WebCite (pdf) Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b See The 5th Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland Archived September 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Cusick, James (18 April 1993). "Stirring of the angry Isles". Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  6. ^ Merritt, Mike (25 November 2012). "Western Isles Council enjoy £1.5m surplus in aftermath of BCCI crash in 1991". Daily Record. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Gaelic to be 'default' language for new pupils in Western Isles schools". BBC News. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  8. ^ a b MacMahon, Peter and Walker, Helen (18 May 2007) "Winds of change sweep Scots town halls". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.
  9. ^ "Council Members". Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 28 December 2022.

External linksEdit