Protests have come from Highlands and Islands representatives about the planned disruption and cancellations of CalMac services in June.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, said she was outraged by the refusal of Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, to listen to the pleas of the Island communities who are continuing to suffer from an overstretched and underfunded ferry provision.

And Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan said: “Given that Calmac's CEO and North Area Manager were in Uist just last week to listen to the concerns of those in Uist over the chaos caused by previous redeployment decisions, it is particularly disappointing that the latest changes result in Uist bear the brunt of disruptions to services again.

“While I accept that the current strain on the fleet is exceptional, I cannot accept that removing all services from one port is an equitable solution, no matter how exceptional the circumstances may be.

“In my view, the contingency plan has been ill considered and, again, poorly communicated.

“I have, today, made these points to both the CEO of Calmac and to the Transport Minister.”

Rhoda Grant MSP said, "I have recently met with Robbie Drummond, Interim MD of Calmac Ferries, who outlined how badly stretched the fleet is. It is clear to me that the Government has allowed the fleet to deteriorate to this position. The situation is so bad that Calmac has broken ranks with their Government owners and is publicly announcing how serious the situation is. This is now the Government not only ignoring the voice of the Islanders but now ignoring the ferry providers too.

And the announcement by CalMac Ferries that the MV Clansman is to return to dry-dock for the first weeks of June has also been met with anger from the Uist Economic Taskforce. The withdrawal of the Clansman will mean the removal of services between Lochboisdale and Mallaig for the first half of June.

Chairman of the Uist Economic Taskforce Working Group, Councillor Iain A. MacNeil said: “This is another in a long list of disappointing announcements from CalMac in relation to the Uist. It is particularly unacceptable that Calmac appear to take every opportunity to deprioritise services from Lochboisdale.

“Only last week Robbie Drummond was in Uist where he met with our MP, our MSP, six local councillors and representatives from the Uist Association of Community Councils.

“Despite detailed discussion about the Lochboisdale service, including plans for what may happen when the Clansman was to return to dry dock, during this discussion not once was the withdrawal of the service mentioned as a possibility.

“What was discussed was the need to engage with the community prior to any changes liable to cause disruption, and assurances were given that would happen. “

Rhoda Grant said: "Outer Hebrides Tourism who are desperately trying to maintain the tourist sector of the Islands fragile economy wrote to me this week highlighting their disappointment that neither the local SNP MSP nor the Minister had the decency to reply to their justified and serious concerns on the Western Isles.

“How long must the suffering go on until this Government wakes up to its responsibilities of what actually is a lifeline service.”