Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Scottish Gaelic for 'Council of the Western Isles'; Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈkʰõ.ərˠʎə ˈɲelan ˈʃiəɾ]) is the local government council for Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Outer Hebrides) council area of Scotland.[3][4] 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
Coat of arms
Council logo
Founded16 May 1975
Kenneth MacLeod,
Scottish National Party
since 17 May 2022
Paul Steele,
since 17 May 2022[1]
Malcolm Burr
since November 2005[2]
Seats29 councillors
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar composition
Political groups
  Independent (22)
  SNP (6)
  Conservative (1)
Single transferable vote
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
6 May 2027
Ardaichidh Fireantachd Cinneach (Scottish Gaelic: "Righteousness exalteth a nation")
Meeting place
Council Offices, Sandwick Road, Stornoway, HS1 2BW

Name edit

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the only local council in Scotland to have a Gaelic-only name. The original name, Western Isles Islands Council, was changed to Western Isles Council in 1995 and then given its Gaelic title in 1997 under the Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997. The former "Western Isles" council area is now officially named "Na h-Eileanan Siar", even in English language contexts.[3][4][5]

History edit

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

In 1997, the Western Isles Council was renamed as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.[3][5][6]

Elections edit

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.[10]

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.[10]

Political representation edit

The 2022 election and subsequent by-elections resulted in the following composition:[11]

Party Seats
Independent 22
Scottish National Party 6
Conservative 1

Leaders edit

Political Leaders edit

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

Convenors edit

No. Convenor Party Period in office Election
1 Donald Macauley Independent 1974–1982 1974
2 Sandy Matheson Independent 1982–1990 1982
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
6 Norman MacDonald Independent 2012–2022 2012
7 Kenneth MacLeod Scottish National Party 2022 – present 2022

Wards edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Council minutes, 17 May 2022" (PDF). Comhairle Nan Eileanan Siar. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  2. ^ "About us". Electoral Management Board for Scotland. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Areas of Scotland" Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Place-names of Scotland" Archived 2009-10-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b See The 5th Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland Archived September 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Cusick, James (18 April 1993). "Stirring of the angry Isles". Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Gaelic to be 'default' language for new pupils in Western Isles schools". BBC News. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  10. ^ a b MacMahon, Peter and Walker, Helen (18 May 2007) "Winds of change sweep Scots town halls". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.
  11. ^ "Council Members". Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 28 December 2022.

External links edit