A LARGS councillor is to take on an important role fighting for the rights of the islands within North Ayrshire Council.

Alex Gallagher is to be given the newly-created position to maximise the benefits of the Ayrshire Growth Deal and progress of the Islands Bill, which will affect Millport.

Cllr. Gallagher's remit will also include Wee Cumbrae, Arran and the Holy Isle, as he acts as the council conduit with the Scottish Parliament to ensure the bill benefits North Ayrshire's remote communities.

He told the News: "The islands have quite a different agenda and different way of looking at issues from people on the mainland.

"I was selected by the council because Millport is in my ward, and am the portfolio holder for the economy in North Ayrshire Council, so it was considered to be a good match.

"Now we, as a council, are looking to find a way as to how we are going to approach the bill.

"I want to find out what is happening on the other islands and see what lessons we can learn from each and swap ideas.

"It is an opportunity to have a fresh look at things.

"There are endless ideas that can be explored and we will be getting structures in place and meeting with council officers to see how we move things forward."

Cllr. Gallagher, who will work with senior directors at North Ayrshire Council in his new position and other ward councillors, says working out how Millport figures within the new Ayrshire Growth Deal is a key priority.

The Islands (Scotland) Bill has received Royal Assent and became an act of the Scottish Parliament last year.

Local authorities in Scotland have pushed for more powers to be devolved to the islands through the Our Islands Our Future campaign.

The local authorities said the new legislation 'paves the way' for that to now happen and has been praised as a hugely significant moment in the history of island communities in Scotland.

The new act ensures ‘island proofing’ of policy and legislation from public bodies and gives islands councils more powers over marine planning and licensing.

It will look at things such as increasing island populations, improving transport services and digital connectivity, protecting the environment and reducing fuel poverty.

Millport photo: Mags Craig.