Suidheachadh an taigheadais air an iomall ann an èiginn, tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh

Bu chòirear an iomairt a chaidh a chur air chois le IsleHoliday.com, stèidhidhte ann an Tiriodh, a mholadh agus iad airson dòigh-obrach nas moralta a chruthachadh ann an roinn nan taighean a tha rim faighinn air mall son làithean saora, leis na prothaidean a’ dol gu sgeamaichean taigheadais ùra anns na h-eileanan.

'S e Rhoda Meek a tha air cùlaibh IsleHoliday.com
'S e Rhoda Meek a tha air cùlaibh IsleHoliday.com

[English-language version below]

Bidh e inntinneach fhaicinn am bi daoine deònach an cùl a chur ri companaidhean mòra an eadar-lìn a tha an-dràsta a’ toirt seachad na seirbheise sin.

Tha am prionnsabal cho ceart sa ghabhas. Tha an leudachadh air taighean saor-làithean, gu sònraichte tro Air BnB agus leis mar a tha barrachd dhaoine a-nis a’ gabhail an cuid saor-làithean anns an dùthaich seo fhèin, a’ ciallachadh g’ eil nas lugha de thaighean rim faighinn gu h-àbhaisteach. Agus tha prìs na feadhna a tha rin ceannach, air a dhol suas ri linn, fada thairis air an rud a tha comasach dha daoine a tha ag obair gu h-ionadail.

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Tha cuid dualtach seo fhaicinn mar chothrom eaconamaigeach, agus dha cuid a dhaoine ‘s e sin a tha ann, ach tha buaidh mhòr agus chunnartach na lùib.

Tha na coimhearsnachdan air a bheil seo a’ bualadh as motha, mar-thà a’ fulang agus iadsan aig aois obrach air falbh ri linn dìth chothroman agus gluasadan nas fharsainge a tha a' fàgail barrachd is barrachd gan tàladh gu àitichean far a bheil sluagh cruinnichte mar-thà.

Mur h-eil cothrom gu bhith aig an àireamh bhig a tha fhathast airson fuireach sna sgìrean dùthchail ri linn dìth taigheadais, dh’fhaodadh e na glinn ‘s na h-eileanan a chur dhan dorchadas.

Chan eil seo fhathast fa chomhar dhaoine gu nàiseanta, ach chan e càil as ùr a tha ann dhan iomall gun a bhith a’ faighinn èisteachd.

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Tha e duilich fhaicinn gun tig a chur ceart – gu tig cothroman ùra taigheadais a chruthachadh – as aonais gnìomh ceart poileataigeach aig àrd-ìre.

Dh’iarr Dòmhnall Camshron, ball-pàrlamaid na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean dhan phàrtaidh Thoraidheach, £50 millean a chur ri taigheadas ann an sgìrean dùthchail na Gàidhealtachd san teirm phàrlamaideach seo.

“Cha ghlèidh sinn ar n-òigridh mura toir seo dhaibh obraichean ceart agus taighean,” thuirt e.

“Tha tòrr dhe na coimhearsnachdan iomallach is dùthchail anns an sgìre agam-sa a’ faicinn crìonadh sluaigh, le àireamhan sgoilear a’ tuiteam agus cuideam a’ tighinn air na seirbheisean ri linn ’s nach eil daoine gu leòr aig aois obrach timcheall.

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“Tha cruaidh fheum aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba tòiseachadh air riaghladh dha Alba air fad, an àite meadhan na dùthcha a-mhàin agus dh’fhaodadh iad tòiseachadh le bhith a’ dèanamh rudeigin mu dheidhin taigheadais anns na sgìrean dùthchail.”

Às bith dè cho dìcheallach ‘s cho gnothachail is a tha Rhoda Meek – an tè a tha air cùlaibh IsleHoliday.com – anns an t-strì aice son rudeigin a dhèanamh mu dheidhinn, cha bu chòir dha a bhith an urra rithe.

‘S e duilgheadas sòisealta is poileataigeach a tha seo agus bu chòir dha a bhith furasta gu leòr dhaibh a chur ceart, bhon a tha a bhith a' cruthachadh sgeamaichean taigheadais dha buidhnean sònraichte gu math stèidhichte mar phrionnsabal.

Bidh e gu math inntinneach fhaicinn dè mar a thig dha Rhoda agus a caraidean agus gu deimhinne, bu chòirear gach soirbheachas a ghuidhe orra – ged nach biodh ann ach gun nàraich iad an luchd-poileataigs airson rudeigin susbainteach a dhèanamh mu dheidhinn an duilgheadas agus cruaidh fheum air.

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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.

The initiative by Tiree-based IsleHoliday.com to create a more ethical online holiday lettings portal, with surplus profit invested in new housing opportunities in island communities, is entirely laudable, although convincing people to switch away from established global brands might prove a more daunting challenge.

Their raison d’etre is undeniable. The growth in the self-catering market, fuelled by the convenience that the likes of Airbnb provides and a rise in demand for staycations, has resulted in less available housing in rural communities, with a subsequent rise in the value of properties that do come on the market due to their increased earning potential.

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There’s a temptation to see this as an economic opportunity, and for some individuals it undoubtedly is, but it’s one that carries very real implications and dangers.

Many of the very communities that this affects the most are already tinkering on the edge of viability as functioning communities, stripped of their working age demographic through a combination of a lack of jobs and a wider drift towards centres of population.

Denying the few that want to live in such places that opportunity through a lack of housing may just be the tipping of the balance that means the lights being switched out in the glens and the islands.

It’s a crisis that’s yet to reach the national consciousness, but ignoring the needs of the periphery is nothing new. However, it’s hard to see any resolution or a redressing of the imbalance in housing opportunities without proper political intervention. Platitudes we have had aplenty; action conspicuously absent.

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Conservative MSP Donald Cameron called for a £50 million investment over the course of this parliament on housing in rural communities in the Highlands and Islands.

“We will not retain our young people unless we can provide them with decent jobs and housing,” he said.

“Many remote and rural communities in my region are facing the prospect of depopulation with falling school rolls and pressure on services due to a lack of working-age people.

“We badly need to see the Scottish government start governing on behalf of all Scotland rather than just the Central Belt and they could make a start by actually doing something about rural housing.”

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No matter how enterprising and determined Rhoda Meek, the businesswoman behind IsleHoliday.com, is in doing something about it, the fact is it should not be left to individuals. This is a social and political problem and it shouldn’t prove insurmountable, given that targeting specific housing initiatives at certain sectors of society is a well-established principle.

It will be very interesting to see what reaction the ethical offering in the self-catering lettings market gets and the hope is that, if nothing else, it may just serve to embarrass our political leaders into action that’s been sorely needed for some time.

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