Bhiodh e cho math le Para Handy os cionn nan aiseagan, tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh

Tha fhios gun tig cuideam mòr air Riaghaltas na h-Alba airson rannsachadh neo-eisimleach a dhèanamh air na thachair timcheall gàrradh Fhearghais às dèidh aithisg an t-seachdain-sa bho àrd-neach-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba.

Thuirt àrd-neach-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba, Stephen Boyle, gun robh iomadach duilgheadas timcheall a’ chùmhnant airson dà aiseag ùr a thogail aig gàrradh Fhearghais.
Thuirt àrd-neach-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba, Stephen Boyle, gun robh iomadach duilgheadas timcheall a’ chùmhnant airson dà aiseag ùr a thogail aig gàrradh Fhearghais.

[English-language version below]

Ach dìreach mar nach eil mòran choltais gun tig na h-aiseagan a chrìochnachadh a dh’aithghearr, cha bu chòirear dùil a bharrachd gun tig èisteachd a thoirt dhan sin – ma tha na thachair gu ruige seo na dhearbhadh.

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Ma bha àm ann nuair a bha am facal butarrais idir freagarrach, seo e. Seachd bliadhna air ais chaidh òrdugh de £100m a chur gu gàrradh Fheargais faisg air Glaschu, a bha ann an làmhan an fhir ghnìomhachais Jim MhicColla, airson dà aiseag ùr.

Ann an 2017 chaidh a’ chiad tè aca, an Glen Sannox, a chur air bhog ach bha i cho fada gun a bhith crìochnaichte ‘s gun deach na h-uinneagan a pheantadh oirre, a' toirt a-steach an t-seòrsa ghòraiche a thachradh ann am Para Handy, seach gnothach ciallach, proifiseanta sam bith.

Cha ghabh a thuigsinn carson a leigeadh companaidh togail bhataichean cliùiteach sin air adhart, a dh’aindeoin ‘s dè cho mòr ‘s bha an t-iarraidh poileataigeach.

Dà bhliadhna air ais, leis na cosgaisean a’ sìor èirigh, ‘s gun crìoch air fàire, chaidh an gàrradh a thoirt fo smachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ach, a-rèir an neach-sgrùdaidh Stephen Boyle, “tha laigsean bunaiteach fhathast ri rèiteach agus tha duilgheadasan leis na h-aiseagan a’ leanntainn”.

Ged a tha cuid dhen choire ga chur air Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (a' bhuidheann riaghaltais os coinn nan aiseagan) – ri linn ‘s gun do dh’aontaich iad ri cùmhnant far an tigeadh cosgaisean mu dhuilgheadasan togail orra fhèin – tha an neach-sgrùdaidh ag ràdh gun robh iadsan a’ togail dhraghan mun ghàrradh bhon fhìor thoiseach.

Anns na faclan as cudromaiche anns an aithisg, thuirt Mgr Boyle: “Chan eil càil air a sgrìobhadh sìos a dh’innseas carson a bha ministearan deònach na draghan, mu bhith a’ toirt a’ chùmhnant dha Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, fhàgail gu aon taobh, a dh’aindeoin na bha CMAL ag ràdh. Tha sinn dhen bheachd gum bu chòir dhan cho-dhùnadh chudromach seo a bhith air a chlàradh gu ceart.”

Chan urrainn dhan neach-sgrùdaidh a’ cheist a fhreagairt mu charson nach do dh’èist an Riaghaltas ris a’ chomhairle, ach ‘s e sin a chanadh duine reusanta sam bith a tha aig bunait na cùise.

An cois na h-aithisg thàinig brath bhon neach comhairleachaidh Riaghaltas na h-Alba, Luke van Beek, a bha ag ràdh gun cosg an dà aiseag mus bi iad deiseil £400 millean. Bu chòirear a ràdh a-rithist gun robh còir aca £100m a chosg.

Cia mheud nurs a bharrachd a gheibh thu le £300 millean? Cia mheud neach-teagasg? Cia mheud ionad airson daoine bho thràill dhrugaichean a chuideachadh. Dè an taic a b’ urrainn a dhol chun na h-Ùcrain?

‘S iad ceistean ruideigin gòrach a tha annta sin bhon nach eil e a' leantainn gum b’ urrainn dhan airgead a tha seo a chleachdadh air càil sam bith eile, ach aon rud a tha gu math soilleir, ‘s e agus gur iad na h-eileanan a tha a’ fulang ri linn na tha seo agus an dàil air an dà aiseag a’ cur gu mòr ris an troimh-chèile air a tha air feadh na lìonra an-dràsta.

Cha mhòr nach eil an rud gun chiall cho mòr agus gun canadh tu nach tigeadh e fiù ‘s a-mach à mac-meanmna Nèill Rothaich no Compton MhicChoinnich.

Cha ghabhadh a chreids.

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

It’s inevitable that calls for a full independent inquiry into the Ferguson ferry debacle will grow ever louder in light of the damning Audit Scotland report published earlier this week.

But just as the two new vessels seem no nearer completion, don’t expect demands for further accountability to be heeded – not if past behaviour is anything to go by.

If ever the term fiasco was justified, this is it. Seven years ago, an order for two new ferries for £100 million was placed with the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow, then owned by businessman Jim McColl.

In 2017 a “launch”, to much fanfare, was conducted on the first of these vessels, the Glen Sannox, which was so far from ready that the windows had to be painted on, bringing in mind scenes from Para Handy rather than a professional ship launch. How any respectable shipbuilder allowed that to happen, whatever the political pressure, is almost beyond comprehension.

Two years ago, as costs to the public purse continued to spiral, the yard was nationalised under the direct control of the Scottish Government but, according to the Auditor General for Scotland, Stephen Boyle, “significant operational failures still need to be fully resolved and further remedial work on the vessels continues to be uncovered”.

Central to all this is the role of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, the government agency that procures vessels. While the auditor criticised them for agreeing to a contract where costs from any construction failings would land on them rather than the yard, it’s clear from the report that they warned ministers, from the very outset, over the risks associated with Ferguson’s.

In probably the most damning passage of all in the report, Mr Boyle says to that: “There is no documented evidence to confirm why ministers were willing to accept the risks of awarding the contract to Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, despite CMAL’s concerns. We consider there should have been a proper record of this important decision.”

Why did ministers constantly ignore the advice of CMAL and plough on regardless? That’s a question the auditor cannot answer, but to any fair assessment it is at the very heart of the issue.

In tandem with the auditor’s highly damning report came a statement from Scottish Government advisor, Luke van Beek, who estimated the two uncompleted ferries will end up costing the taxpayer as much as £400m. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the initial cost was meant to be £100m.

How many extra nurses would £300 million pay for? How many extra teachers? How many drug rehabilitation clinics? How much aid to Ukraine? For heaven’s sake, how many new ferries?

That kind of thing is, of course, theoretical, but what’s not in doubt is the ones who have really suffered are the island communities who rely on these lifeline ferry links, with delays to these two new ferries having contributed significantly to the widespread disruption now experienced across the west-coast network. Not even the wild imagination of a Neil Munro or a Compton MacKenzie could come up with something quite so farcical.

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