YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include views on ScotRail's trains, cleaning up the Helensburgh shore, litter and vandalism in Hermitage Park, and more.

To have your say on any local issue, just email your views to, with your name and address.

Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details with you at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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On Thursday, February 14, when travelling on the 0956 train from Helensburgh Central to Partick I saw a four-year-old boy having to pee into an empty take-away coffee cup because both toilets on a six-car train were already out of use.

This was before ten o'clock in the morning. The conductor would not unlock a toilet for the boy to use because, he said, the toilet water tanks were empty. The little boy's auntie then had to empty the pee onto the track when the train stopped at Dumbarton East.

A fortnight ago, my wife and I travelled on the 0854 from Helensburgh Central, and both toilets on a six-car train were out of use because the water-tanks were already empty.

On numerous occasions over the past year or so there have not been operating toilets on trains to or from Helensburgh Central, at varying times of day, because the water tanks were empty. It is railway personnel who tell us that there is no water available for the toilets.

One of ScotRail's excuses is that toilets are locked out of use to prevent fare-evaders using them as hide-aways. If that is true, it is disgraceful, because ScotRail is treating all its customers in the same way the Tory politicians in London treat the population generally – making us all pay for the misdemeanours of a few.

The simple truth is that the electric units on the suburban services north of the Clyde are not being maintained properly. Train maintenance managers are not ensuring – or are not allowed to ensure – that when train-sets are serviced the water tanks for toilets are refilled.

Come on, Abellio ScotRail, this is the 21st century. A child should not have to pee into a cup because the toilets on a morning train have no water. An adult should not have use a train 30 minutes earlier than necessary in case they have to disembark at Dalmuir (where there is a working toilet) or somewhere with no toilet and therefore have to urinate in 'a quiet corner' at or near a station.

Alternatively you have to arrive 30 minutes late because of having to leave the train.

The conductor this morning assured me that on 'the back shift' if no toilets are operational customers do urinate in the corridor connections. I am not surprised to hear that.

Instead of just complaining about poor time-keeping, could ScotRail customers using the Helensburgh Central to Glasgow services also inundate ScotRail with complaints about unavailable toilets? Thank you.

David Cook, Mossend Avenue, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser - February 14, 2019

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Helensburgh is a tourist town that relies to some extent on visitors coming and spending money in the shops and eating places.

A large part of that attraction is the beach and esplanade and if we allow these facilities to degenerate these visitors will stop coming.

Is Argyll and Bute Council fit for purpose? Does it look after the best interests of Helensburgh and other towns? I ask these questions after an exchange on Helensburgh social media this week. Let me copy some of it and your readers can draw conclusions from them.

I posted: “You will remember the strong winds last week. They washed lots of seaweed up from the corner at the pier on to the start of the esplanade. I was down yesterday and it was still there. If the council would provide a skip I and maybe others would happily shovel it up for disposal. I suspect however that, as has happened before, it will be pushed back down on to the beach to await the next gale to bring it and more back up.”

John Tacchi of the Community Council responded: “A great idea. But, and there's always a but, the council won't allow it to be tipped at the coup. Hoods offered the Community Council, which had the same idea, one of their skips free, but still the council weren't interested.”

A discussion followed about contamination within the mainly seaweed that is washed up. And whether it could be sorted and the bulk composted.

Who makes the decision that the council will not deal with the stuff that is washed up on the beach if local residents are willing to make the effort to gather it up?

I suspect our councillors are told, by the same bureaucracy that James Robb wrote about last week, that it was all too difficult.

In all 32 local authorities across Scotland decisions are being made by very highly paid officials who now have command of what happens rather than being told what is needed by the elected representatives.

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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I live on Victoria Road and walk through the Hermitage Park most days. On the morning of Friday, February 15, on the path beside the bottom wall of the war memorial, there was broken glass scattered over the tar path and on the grass verge to the side.

These fragments were from broken vodka bottles.

There are two new litter bins in this part of the park. These are high quality bins with hard wood linings on the sides. Someone had managed to pry two of the linings off this bin and one lining off the other bin. They had used a wooden stake which was lying beside the bin.

As I walked through the park I came upon more broken glass on another hard path.

This is just another act of vandalism to add to the already long list of thefts and damage to the park.

It is very disappointing that there appears to be a group of mindless morons who are intent on ruining the facilities in the park before the work is even completed.

So many people have put so much work into recreating a public space which everyone can enjoy. The mindless morons smashing glass bottles have already spoiled this for dog owners.

I'm going to hazard a guess that these are just a group of wee laddies who are trying to impress their friends by getting drunk and then showing how strong they are by smashing up inanimate objects.

It makes me ashamed to be Scottish.

Colin Finnie, Victoria Road, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser - February 7, 2019

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I would like to add my voice supporting Malcolm Craig, retired optometrist.

Mr. Craig gave me excellent service over many years. I have a complex need for eyecare, and Mr Craig provided excellent service from start to finish, with never a wrong move.

Thank you for your care and professionalism, Mr Craig. I would trust your judgement over that of the General Optical Council's inspectors any day.

Peter Knox, Ardenconnel Way, Rhu

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We are absolutely shocked and saddened at the reports in the Advertiser on February 7 regarding Mr Malcolm Craig.

How can a highly respected professional gentleman in every sense of the word be vilified like this and struck off now by the so called Fitness to Practice Committee when he has already been retired for three years?

Who deemed it necessary to pursue the watchdog's 'findings' at this late date with the costs and time involved as well as the humiliation suffered by Mr Craig over the past years?

We are unaware of the specific charges made against Mr Craig apart from those reported in the Advertiser which appear to claim this was due to his failure to keep up to date with his record keeping.

How can striking him off now be "required for public protection and public interest purposes"?

Your contributor, John Black (Advertiser Comment, February 14), got it exactly right when he claimed that this was the latest example of the role of the jobsworths in the employ of our public sector.

Mr Micklewright, the General Optical Council's presenting officer, said in response to the statement that Mr Craig had a fine local reputation amongst his patients that this statement "was unsupported by any testimonials" and that "patients were not always the best judges of the quality of treatment they receive".

How patronising is that! We and most of his patients were totally unaware that a disciplinary hearing was to take place three years after his retirement until the report in the Advertiser and had we been, we are sure there would have been countless testimonials supporting him available for the Hearing in January.

We were patients of Mr Craig for nearly 30 years and not once did we doubt his ability to take care of our sight or any other problems connected with eyes. His knowledge and experience was obvious and his manner of dealing with his patients second to none.

It was a pleasure to have our eyes tested and we had every confidence in Mr Craig. We are desperately sorry that he has been treated in this unfeeling and cruel way.

Jack and Doreen Williams, Garelochhead