Parliamentary recognition for St Ninian’s High reaching top education award finals

Parliamentary recognition for St Ninian’s High reaching top education award finals

MSP Rona Mackay has lodged a parliamentary motion praising St Ninian’s High School for reaching the finals of the Scottish Education Awards.

The school in Kirkintilloch was selected in the Raising Attainment in Numeracy category for its innovative teaching methods.

The awards will take place at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on June 7.

Ms Mackay said: “Very well done to St Ninian’s High School for reaching the finals of the Scottish Education Awards. I am glad judges were able to recognise these initiatives that have increased the confidence of children when handling numbers on a daily basis. This is so important. The teachers and pupils will be very proud of this achievement. I will be rooting for the school to win in its category and look forward to seeing the result in June.”


Motion Number: S5M-05702
Lodged By: Rona Mackay
Date Lodged: 19/05/2017

Title: St Ninian’s High School’s Outstanding Achievement

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch on being selected as a finalist in 2017’s Scottish Education Awards in the category, Raising Attainment in Numeracy, for its innovative teaching methods to develop pupils’ numeracy skills; considers that this is an outstanding achievement, and congratulates all who were involved.

MSP Rona Mackay joins ministerial visit to G.R.A.C.E. in Kirkintilloch

MSP Rona Mackay joins ministerial visit to G.R.A.C.E. in Kirkintilloch

The Minister for Mental Health listened to the concerns and experiences of service users when visiting a Kirkintilloch aftercare charity on Monday.

Maureen Watt MSP visited G.R.A.C.E. in Hillhead Community Centre and met with charity founder Robert Smith and service users to discuss mental health issues.

In the new sensory garden created by service users, the Minister put on some gloves, picked up a trowel and planted a new rose bush entitled Compassion.

MSP Rona Mackay, a strong supporter of the charity, also joined the Minister.

She said: “It was wonderful to welcome the Minister for Mental Health to Kirkintilloch. The work Robert and volunteers do here is instrumental in helping people recover from addiction, trauma and all sorts of mental health related issues.

“I would like to thank Maureen Watt for taking the time to visit and recognise the excellent community-based work G.R.A.C.E. is doing in Kirkintilloch, it meant a lot to everyone there.”

Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health, said: “Charities like G.R.A.C.E. provide a vital service from the community to help people recover or manage their mental health. In meeting service users, I was able to hear their concerns, which help inform my decisions as a minister. I would like to thank Robert Smith, volunteers and the service users for having me along to hear their concerns and talk to them about how the Scottish Government is serious in improving the mental health of our nation.”

Robert Smith said: “It was great to have the Minister for Mental Health along to hear from our service users. Maureen Watt took the time to listen to concerns and talk with them. We are delighted she was able to plant a rose bush in our sensory garden.”


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Rona Mackay praises ground-breaking cancer researchers at Beatson Institute

Rona Mackay praises ground-breaking cancer researchers at Beatson Institute

MSP Rona Mackay met Cancer Research UK scientists in Glasgow last week to learn about the charity’s world class research in Scotland.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP visited the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute last Friday where she witnessed first-hand the ground-breaking research being carried out by scientists and doctors, and heard how research such as this will help to save lives.

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK was able to spend more than £24 million in Glasgow last year on world- leading scientific and clinical research.

The charity announced a further £8 million investment in Glasgow in March, to develop new treatments for pancreatic cancer. Led by Professor Andrew Biankin at the University of Glasgow, the PRECISION-Panc project aims to develop personalised treatments for pancreatic cancer patients, improving the options and outcomes for a disease where survival rates have remained stubbornly low.

Ms Mackay said: “Like everywhere in Scotland, cancer has a huge effect on families in my constituency, so it has been fantastic to visit the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and hear more about how it’s research is offering new hope to families here and across Scotland.”

At her visit to the Institute, she also heard about Cancer Research UK’s latest campaign Scale Down Cancer which is calling for more to be done to tackle obesity in Scotland.

The charity is urging the Scottish Government to introduce measures that will give children the best start in life, by curbing multi-buy discounts on foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Gregor McNie, senior public affairs manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Research is at the heart of curing cancer, yet we must not forget that four in ten cancers are preventable in the first place.

“Not enough of us know that obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Given the devastating impact that cancer has on families across Scotland, it’s vital we see political action on obesity.”

Join the conversation on twitter via @CRUKScotland and #ScaleDownCancer


About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, two in four people survive cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that three in four people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.




Alan Ferguson

Communications Manager

Gil Paterson MSP and Rona Mackay MSP
Clydebank & Milngavie and Strathkelvin & Bearsden

Mobile: 07930 668771


Kirkintilloch public ‘thrilled’ to meet Nicola Sturgeon

Kirkintilloch public ‘thrilled’ to meet Nicola Sturgeon

MSP Rona Mackay’s comments on the First Minister’s visit to Kirkintilloch on May 10.

She said: “I was delighted that Nicola Sturgeon visited Kirkintilloch today to visit an excellent local business Table 13 and support John Nicolson on his General Election campaign.


“Members of the public, from pensioners, children, mums and people working across the town enthusiastically welcomed the First Minister, who spent a long time chatting with them.

“This is just the beginning of the campaign, but you can already see the enthusiasm the pedestrians and shoppers had for our message and greeting the First Minister.”


Rona votes to merge railway policing with Police Scotland

Rona votes to merge railway policing with Police Scotland

MSP Rona Mackay has voted in favour of merging railway policing in Scotland with Police Scotland.

It follows the general principles of Stage One of the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill being voted through by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP, Greens and Liberal Democrats passed the bill with 66 votes to Labour and the Tories’ 44.

As Deputy Convener of the Justice Committee, Ms Mackay has been involved in scrutinising the bill.

If passed, the Bill will see the British Transport Police’s 285 officers and responsibilities integrated with Police Scotland, to enhance safety and security for the rail travelling public.

The Bill will now be looked at and amended by MSPs before being voted on again.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP said:  “The integration of railway policing into Police Scotland’s remit is simply common sense. It will make the service accountable to the people of Scotland, enhance the excellent specialist provision and increase security.

“All of the 17,000 police officers in Scotland will undertake the three-week railway policing training and a bespoke specialist unit will be set up. This will only improve the service to the rail network in Scotland and, of course, contribute to the safety of the general public.

“It is depressing, yet not unexpected, to see the Labour Party and the Tories join forces to oppose this common sense proposal.”


  • Background:
  • Video of speech.
    Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP):
    The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill is extremely important legislation that will strengthen and complement the work of Police Scotland. Today, the bill will be presented by some members, including a minority of members of the Justice Committee, in a negative light—unnecessarily so. The majority of committee members support the bill. I will focus on three main elements of the bill that I believe are fundamental and should be viewed positively. They are public safety, ethos and security.During evidence taking, the committee heard from a variety of stakeholders, including railway operators, British Transport Police, Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, trade unions and affiliated police organisations. There was a divergence of opinion in many areas, which is no bad thing. Integration must be successful and must achieve public confidence, and no stone should be left unturned regarding the detail of implementation.

    Douglas Ross: 

    The member suggested that some members would express an overly negative view about the proposals. Will she confirm that the majority of respondents to the Scottish Government’s consultation and indeed to the committee’s call for evidence were against the proposals? They do not want the bill to go forward.

    Rona Mackay: 

    I will not have the member put words in my mouth. I am talking about members. If the member lets me proceed, I will explain.

    Proposals to integrate the BTP into the Scottish police service began in 2011, before the creation of Police Scotland. The Smith commission agreed that the functions of the BTP in Scotland should be devolved. The BTP is not accountable in Scotland. It is a UK force that is accountable to the British Transport Police Authority, the Department for Transport and the Secretary of State for Transport in England and Wales. Integrating the BTP with Police Scotland will make it fully accountable to the people of Scotland—entirely as it should be. With more than 93 million rail journeys made in Scotland each year and another 8 million cross-border rail journeys, it make sense for the BTP to be integrated to ensure full accountability to the people of Scotland and the Scottish Parliament.

    There was concern among stakeholders and some members of the committee about the upskilling of existing police staff and whether the training would be adequate. However, should the bill proceed, after 2019 every police officer would be trained in policing the railways. They would get exactly the same three-week training that is currently received only by BTP officers. There are currently 285 full-time-equivalent BTP officers in Scotland and more than 17,000 regular police officers. In my view, integration can therefore only improve the service to the rail network in Scotland and, of course, contribute to the safety of the general public. How can that be a bad thing? Rural areas that are currently not served by the BTP will benefit by having specially trained officers on hand to deal with incidents.

    Everyone agrees that the BTP has consistently done a superbly professional job in keeping the rail-travelling public safe. To recognise and keep that specialism, Police Scotland has confirmed to the Scottish Parliament that a bespoke railway policing unit will be established for railway policing in Scotland. That would sit alongside the specialist road policing unit that is already in place, and those officers would receive additional training over and above the training that all officers receive, so the ethos and specialism would be enhanced, not diminished.

    The committee heard that there was concern that the cost of railway policing would increase as a result of integration. We have requested that, should that happen, the Scottish Government report to Parliament to clarify who would pay the additional costs.

    There was also concern about the transfer of BTP staff—and their pay and conditions—into the integrated service, as the minister outlined. I hope that members are reassured by the minister’s commitment to the no-detriment and triple-lock assurances that have been given to them—although perhaps the Tories need to be reminded of what a “triple lock” means. The minister gave the Transport Salaried Staffs Association the same triple-lock guarantee. The Scottish Government will apply the principle of no detriment across the board to the terms and conditions of BTP officers, and I welcome that, as I understand the concern in that area.

    Throughout the negotiations involving the joint programme board—the timescale of which Assistant Chief Constable Higgins described as “a luxury”—the engagement between the Scottish Government and the railway industry has been praised by both sides. Graham Meiklejohn of TransPennine Express said:

    “The minister has been generous … in giving us time to consider the issues”

    and that

    “There is an opportunity for improved efficiency.”

    David Lister of ScotRail Alliance talked about the

    “opportunities for enhancing security at larger stations outwith the central belt”,—[Official Report, Justice Committee, 21 March 2017; c 5, 26, 27.]

    as specially trained staff from Police Scotland could respond to incidents more quickly.

    The cross-border policing that already takes place between Scotland and the rest of the UK will be enhanced. Currently, Police Scotland’s intelligence cells in the Gartcosh crime campus have access to real-time information that has to be relayed to the BTP. With integration, there will be no need to do that, as the information would be put directly to the point at which it was required.

    In conclusion, I thank committee member John Finnie for injecting a bit of reality into some of our discussions during the committee’s evidence-taking process by highlighting his experience as a former police officer. It was very useful to have the benefit of his experience.

    The integration of railway policing into Police Scotland’s remit is simply common sense. It will make the service accountable to the people of Scotland, enhance the excellent specialist provision and increase security. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending to members the general principles of the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill.



Congratulations to all candidates elected to East Dunbartonshire Council

Congratulations to all candidates elected to East Dunbartonshire Council

MSP Rona Mackay’s statement following the East Dunbartonshire Council election results, announced on Friday, May 5.

Ms Mackay said: “I would like to thank the public for delivering an amazing group of SNP councillors back to East Dunbartonshire Council. The SNP fought a hard campaign and are delighted with the support the electorate has shown us in East Dunbartonshire and across the country.

“Congratulations to all of the new councillors and a big well done to all of those who decided to put themselves forward as candidates for this council election. It is a brave act, to stand for office.

“Unfortunately, not all of our candidates were elected, and there were some shocks. But, that is the nature of democracy. We must press on and ensure the people of East Dunbartonshire are well served, no matter who forms the administration.”


Huge victory for anti-shared space campaigners in Kirkintilloch

Huge victory for anti-shared space campaigners in Kirkintilloch

A DAMNING report on shared space initiatives has been welcomed by MSP Rona Mackay and campaigners against the initiative in Kirkintilloch.

Rona said: “The report from the Women and Equalities Committee comes as no surprise to me, given it highlights the very safety concerns I have been raising about the shared space scheme in my constituency of Kirkintilloch since I entered office.

“I welcome the advice from MPs that the needs of disabled pedestrians should be at the front and centre of shared space designs and planning. While this seems like common sense, the Labour-Tory administration on East Dunbartonshire Council has done nothing of the sort.

“Our calls for action to help people living with disabilities at the shared space have been met with deaf ears. When the SNP group proposed returning safety crossings to the Catherine Street junction in March, it was rejected by Labour and Tory councillors in administration.

“In the report, the account of the blind man being trapped in his home after a shared space was constructed on his doorstep is absolutely heart-breaking. Just last Monday, I saw an elderly man get the fright of his life crossing at Catherine Street when a car careered on front of him as he was crossing the road – a clear sign the right of way is not understood by motorists.

“This is a vindication for all those who have been speaking out against inappropriately located shared space initiatives and I expect the next council administration, no matter who is elected, to act on this for the sake of all pedestrians and motorists, before something terrible happens.”