Working to mitigate the impacts of the Coronavirus and protect our community remains the top priority at the moment. Inverclyde has been badly hit. I am very grateful to all our council workers, volunteers, NHS staff, essential workers, and indeed everyone in Inverclyde that is playing their part to tackle the virus.

Although it is crucially important that we act right now to improve the situation locally, it’s just as important that we start to look ahead to ensure that our community recovers as quickly as can be possible.

Mental Health

I am concerned that the impact of sudden loss, isolation measures, and the current crisis is having a negative impact on the mental health of people in Inverclyde. The Council has agreed to look into what support we can put in place. I am pleased that as of this week we can now leave the house to exercise or go a walk more than once. It is important though that we do so in and around where we live as travelling to do so risks spreading the virus.


Many people have raised concerns with me that the blue bin recycling service has still not been reinstated. Initially we were informed that the service had to be suspended due to staffing shortages but I am pleased that this is no longer the case. The issue now is not that it’s not possible to uplift the blue bin waste but rather that the contractor isn’t able to remove it from the Councils recycling centre. I have accepted the assurances of Council officials that they hope to have the service reinstated by the middle of this month, but if it is not possible due to the contractor then we must look to find an alternative.

There is one positive note though in that the food waste bin collections will return to normal from next week. The service will now resume on Monday 18 May.

One thing is for sure, our bin men are on the front line every single day delivering essential services. I know that people across Inverclyde do not forget them when thanking all our essential workers.

Cruise ships

The issue of upto 12 cruise ships using Greenock as a port to disembark their staff has become a very contentious issue. The Health Board and the Council have opposed the moves due to the risk to our NHS if the circa 150 staff that would remain on each ship moored in the Clyde became infected. I have supported this view. It appears that these are not vessels that are standard at sea with stricken seafarers but rather this is a commercial decision and not a humanitarian one, with ships set to travel thousands of miles to come to Greenock to moor.

However, at the moment despite opposition to the plan the Council is powerless to block the berthing and disembarking. If the plans do proceed I have set out 5 points that Peel Ports must be made to abide with to make sure that profit is not put before our NHS and the health of our community. They are:

Five points that must be agreed to by Peel Ports if the berthing and mooring goes ahead:

That all crew leaving the ships have had two negative tests before disembarking in Greenock

That transport plans are put in place to directly transfer staff to their point of reparation

That all crew changing over to travel to Greenock to take over staffing of the vessels have had two negative tests after being first placed in quarantine.

That all shore leave be suspended for staff that are crewing the ships to reduce the risk that the virus is transmitted onto the ships causing an outbreak on board which could overwhelm the capacity of the NHS to treat

That Peel Port’s donate a share of the profits to Inverclyde community groups that are on the front line of volunteering to tackle the virus in Inverclyde

In Inverclyde, and across Scotland, the message remains the same: we should stay home unless it is essential to leave for work, exercise, essential shopping, or to care for someone.