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Ceremony hijacked by protest over windfarm  

The first minister yesterday unveiled a statue marking the Highland Clearances, when thousands of people were exiled to make way for sheep.

The ceremony was hijacked by members of a local action group, who took the opportunity to urge Alex Salmond to halt a proposed windfarm development, claiming it could lead to a modern-day Clearances situation.

Highland Council has supported Scottish and Southern Energy’s plans for a 35-turbine development near Brora. But councillors have urged the executive, which must determine the application, to hold a public local inquiry.

Mr Salmond stuck to matters in hand when he officially unveiled the 10ft-high bronze statue of a family group, created by Black Isle sculptor Gerald Laing, at Couper Park, in Helmsdale.

He said: “This statue is a reminder of the men, women and children who left Scotland and took their skills across the seas and shared them around the world. While we deplore the Clearances we can be proud of the contributions those cleared have made to humanity.”

Mr Salmond also backed Highland SNP MSP Fergus Ewing’s proposal for a Highland Clearances museum.

The Press and Journal

24 July 2007

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