Tourism bosses hit back over media scare tactics
SECTIONS of the national press have been accused of scaremongering after reports of beefed-up security on CalMac ferries to counter terrorism appeared at the weekend.
And the Provost of Argyll and Bute, Len Scoullar, has been accused of putting his foot in it by giving Syrian refugee families destined for Bute a less-than-friendly welcome.
Reports of possible bomb and terror threats could have a damaging long-term impact said Gavin Dick, who chairs Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co operative, adding: ‘It is disappointing that a photo, taken from a training exercise held some months ago, has been used out of context.’
CalMac agrees and a spokesman said: ‘A picture shows a routine training exercise by Royal Marines, which have been taking place on our ships for some time and are not in response to any specific security threat to our ferries.’
And an Argyll police officer, in an non-attributable briefing, said: ‘The world is a hard enough place at the moment without people making stuff up about terrorism.’
Police in the area are not aware of any heightened security measures at this time.
However, Mr Scoullar who lives on Bute, told The Sun newspaper last week that he had ‘ reservations’ about who would be amongst the refugees coming to the island, saying: ‘It’s a fear that everyone will have, I’m sure, if we brought in a terrorist amongst these people. It’s always been a reservation that I’ve had but we just hope these are genuine people and we can do the genuine thing for them.’
Mike Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute called the comments ‘crass and inappropriate’.
He said: ‘ The last thing the refugee families need at the end of their exhausting and life- changing journey is small-minded suspicion directed at them by a senior civic leader.’
Following Mr Russell’s comments, Councillor Scoullar replied: ‘I wish to make it clear that I always have and will continue to support the refugee resettlement initiative and I am looking forward to the families arriving in Bute before Christmas.’
In his role as provost, Councillor Scoullar has written to Emmanuel Cocher, Consul General de France in Edinburgh, on behalf of the people of Argyll and Bute to express deepest sympathies following the terror attacks in Paris.
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