Editorial comment

I’m sure by now most of the residents of this island have read the news letter recently put out by Eilean Eisdeal. I would like to draw residents’ attention to the misleading information in the news letter with regard to the change of accountants. In the article it states that the members agreed to change accountants to a company with more experience in the charities sector, the company being Simmers and Co in Oban.

Last Wednesday I had a chat with David Hodge of Simmers and Co to get some clarification on the matter, and he told me that “it wouldn’t make any difference to the Eilean Eisdeal accounts if we were to draw them up or if they had stayed with Jean Ainsley”, the charity’s previous accountants. In fact both firms audit accounts for many charities in Argyll, so WHY the sudden change?

In a year where Eilean Eisdeal has been investigated once again by the charities regulator, OSCR, and found to be somewhat wanting in their report with regard to transparency  and openness, add to that the stone walling of residents questions about  how, on what and to whom the £130,000 from the Scottish Gas Green Streets was spent, it all appears pretty odd – and has a faint whiff about it? Perhaps you would agree?

So, we are still left asking, why the change of accountants? Was Jean Ainsley not prepared to be EE’s accountant any more? Had she concerns about what the charity was up to? Did the directors feel she knew to much about their activities, and it was time to move on and start afresh with a new firm who knows nothing about them??

As usual with the Eilean Eisdeal directors, so many questions and NO answers.

12 Responses to “Editorial comment”

  • Tina:

    And exactly how many members agreed? Were they local residents?

    Apparently Eilean Eisdeal directors are still refusing to give any information about the make up of the membership to For Argyll. Openness and transparency indeed!

  • henry:

    Openness and Transparency seem to be foreign lands to Eilean Eisdeal Directors and this situation is not a recent acquisition. They have operated in this unacceptable manner for years.

    What do they feel they have to hide, not only from the Islanders they claim to represent but also from their paid up members and anyone else that asks a question?

    Why do they always choose to operate in secret?

    Do they think that the Truth might somehow hurt them?

    Indeed I am begining to think that it might!

  • Julian:

    I was recently asked by Linda Henderson, [the editor of For Argyll] when did Eilean Eisdeal become so secretive and non- communicative with the residents of the island. I told her as far as I remember they’ve always been that way.

    As I’ve only lived on island since 2007, can anyone enlighten me as to a time when their behaviour was any different?

  • mortimer:

    I recall in 2003 that at a public meeting discussing the then new hall that the question was asked “How many applicants were there for the post of hall manager?” The answer, from the then chairman, Sandra Melville, was “that information is confidential”. Need I say more?

  • Keith:

    During the previous Local Plan consultation period in August 2006, Donald Melville, the then chair of Eilean Eisdeal wrote to A&B Council saying that Eilean Eisdeal had long standing plans to build affordable housing on the land used by residents as allotments. Neither members nor residents were told about this letter. However, following some enquiries in May 2007, he wrote in an email to Eilean Eisdeal members:

    “Eilean Eisdeal’s only representation to the Council on the Local Plan is in connection with the area of land to the north east of the harbour, the Rush ‘n’ Gush as we colloquially refer to it.”

    No mention of the representation for the area of land covered by the allotments. As I recall, the letter was verbally withdrawn at the inquiry itself in August 2007 after a few questions were asked about his contribution made on behalf of the charity without any evidence of community support. It may be interesting to note that another director at that time and who also happened to be both his brother-in-law and local builder, Mike Mackenzie (now SNP MSP), also supported the idea of building houses in the same area.

    Is this the behaviour expected of a SNP prospective Councillor?

  • Dumb Blonde:

    Back in 2004, Eilean Eisdeal were granted a significant sum of money (circa £9,000) to fund the commission of a survey and an Engineer’s report on the state of Easdale Island harbour. Despite many requests for the report to be made available to residents and responding promises from Eilean Eisdeal directors that it would be published, it never materialised. What was the big secret? Were Eilean Eisdeal trying to hide something? Indeed, did the report ever exist? If not, was the funder(s) re-imbursed? Mike Mackenzie SNP MSP was a Director of the charity at the time; perhaps he could shed some light on the matter.

  • Bitterness doesn't suit you.:

    The Easdale People used to be a fun and happy magazine to read. The Island used to be a fun and happy place to grow up and live. I have lived on the Island for nearly 20 years now and I see that that this is a lot longer than the people editing and writing this magazine. What the Easdale People used to be was the ISLANDERS used to contribute by adding little stories and news bits for people to read. It was a way that the community could all be involved in something together. The Island is not the same anymore and i’ll quite happily say it, it’s because of people like you that bring it down. If you would much rather prefer a place that is badly poluted and you don’t even know your neighbours name then move to a city, no one is stopping you. I know this is rather harsh, but it’s no worse than what you have said about my friends and family. This is not the way I remember the Island and quite bluntly, you have ruined the past few years of my experience on the Island, and that hurts.

    • Jenny:

      D’you know, I just so hate it when somebody plays the “I’ve lived here longer than you have” card”!

      I’ve lived on Easdale for 15 years, “Bitterness” but, according to you, that doesn’t seem to qualify me as being an ISLANDER. How long would you say it takes for anyone to become an ISLANDER? Presumably someone who’s only lived here – full-time – for, say, a year doesn’t count??

      As a former member of the editorial team for the last on-paper incarnation of the Easdale People magazine, I can tell you that its policy was to ignore “island politics”. That’s why it was jolly, “fun” and “happy”.

      Yes, there’s always been fun and happiness to be enjoyed with friends and family, thank goodness, but the undercurrent of the “politics” and the conflicts have been there constantly, and those (such as yourself) who choose not to see them are looking at Easdale through very rose-coloured spectacles. I’m sorry if taking off those spectacles hurts your eyes or your sensibilities.

      If the village of Easdale could be transported across to the mainland and plonked down somewhere next to Balvicar then any conficts would be de-fused, diffused, and put into a larger perspective.

      I can also say, from experience, that it was hard work extracting contributions for the on-paper Easdale People from those who’d promised them. Looked easy from a reader’s point of view, I dare say, but it wasn’t!

      This on-line version of Easdale People more than welcomes contributions from whoever wishes to offer anything – but we’re not going to “prod” people to do so. Been there, done that – and there was no T-shirt at the end of it!

      You’ve lived here for 20 years “Bitterness”, so you must have some good stories to tell. Please share them. You (and anyone else) can send items to us using the “Contact Us” button on the top toolbar, or contact me direct at jenny@petravore.com.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Tina:

    To ‘Bitterness doesn’t suit you':

    It is interesting to read your views about the website and the island. Why don’t you submit a little story or news for people to read? Others have already done so and many islanders find them entertaining, just as you suggest. Perhaps you haven’t spotted them yet.

    Having lived on the island for around 10 years I can say that I found it to be more polluted than any others places where I had lived previously. As Easdale Island is a small community it was easy to see who was responsible for most of the mess and it was usually just one or two people who didn’t take responsibility for getting it off the island or tidying up.

    The fact that the website is “the democratic voice of Easdale Island” allows everyone to participate and have a say about their life on the island. Unfortuantely when exposing bad behaviour the truth can hurt, but perhaps it will show the rest of the world that bullying, threats and undemocratic behaviour will not be tolerated by islanders. The community includes everyone who lives there, not just the few who believe that by not speaking to their neighbours and trying to force through unwanted development will result in changes that suit their own needs. It is my opinion that they are the people who cause most of the problems and should leave. It’s a shame if these are your family and friends.

  • Nicholas Fleet:

    Over the last few years I’ve visited Easdale island on many occasions, on my own and with family and friends. We came across for a short visit last christmas to see how the island looked in it’s winter raiment, to our surprise and with reference to the above comment, some parts of the island resembled the look of a building site and the low lying area opposite the ferry shed was full of old boats parts, more building waste and the remnants of a large van.

    Just out of interest who or what body is responsible for maintaining the appearance of the island.


    Nicholas Fleet

  • Tina:

    Unfortunately one or two people appear to show little or no respect for the island’s conservation status or for the residents and visitors who have to live with/see the mess. It is likely that you will find these are the same people who talk endlessly about ‘the fragile community’ and ‘encouraging toursim’. Quite how the state of the island is supposed to encourage more residents and visitors is beyond me.

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