The outgoing year was one of tumultuous change both at home and abroad.
Galloway MSP Finlay Carson reflects on 2016 and look forward to 2017.
He said: “As 2016 draws to a close, it is inevitable that we will reflect on the events of the past year, whilst also looking ahead to what awaits us in 2017.
“This time last year, no one would have predicted the events of these past 12 months. When the history books are written, 2016 will go down as a game changing year that witnessed some momentous events which turned the order as we knew it completely on its head.
“Being elected as the MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries was a huge personal privilege for me. It is a great honour to serve as an MSP in Holyrood and it continues to be extremely busy and rewarding.
I never fail to be amazed and inspired by the work that so many organisations and voluntary groups carry out across the constituency and I look forward to supporting and working with them all in 2017.
“Last year, many households and businesses were affected by severe flooding during the Festive period in Newton Stewart and it was heartening to see the local community pull together to help those in desperate need. Our fantastic emergency services also rose to the challenge and I want to express my gratitude, especially at this time of year, to those who work in our police, fire and rescue services, as well as our Armed Forces, who will continue to work at a time when most of us are enjoying time with family and friends.
“Next year, I will continue to campaign on the issues that matter to you, your family and our local communities.
“One of my strongest hopes is that much more progress is made on the redevelopment of the East Pier in Stranraer. I have long believed and argued that Stranraer is the forgotten gateway to Scotland. It will be a missed opportunity if the untapped potential of the town is not realised and I will do everything I can to make sure that this does not happen.
“In January, I will be hosting a Parliamentary reception for the Scottish Campaign for National Parks - a chance to again make the case for a Galloway National Park. This is an issue that I am very passionate about and I am looking forward to working with a local steering group to take it forward and convince the Scottish Government to designate new National Parks, starting here.
“Another important issue that I continue to be involved with is the illegal activity of electro-fishing for razor clams. This is particularly pertinent on Luce Bay and Fleet Bay. I have been calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a ban on razor clam fishing until the proper research has been carried out and a sustainable fisheries management plan is put in place.
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone the good wishes of the season and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
“As ever, if I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.”