In 2003, the High Council of Clan Donald Chiefs decided to reinstate the ancient "Comhairle nan Eilean," the Council of the Isles, which served as an advisory council to the Lords of the Isles of old. The original Council of The Isles met at Finlaggan on the Island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, so it was decided that the new Council would be called the Finlaggan Council.
The role of the Finlaggan Council is to serve as members of the High Council of Clan Donald, providing advice on issues referred to them by the Clan Donald Chiefs. The Finlaggan Council members may also bring issues of interest or concern, or developments in their geographical areas, to the attention of the Clan Donald Chiefs for their consideration and decision.
Membership on the Finlaggan Council is restricted to sixteen persons as it was in the original Council of the Isles, each member being appointed by the Clan Donald Chiefs to serve at the their pleasure. Appointments must receive the unanimous consent of all the Clan Donald Chiefs. Finlaggan Council appointments are named after the historical strongholds of the Lordship of the Isles.
The Honourable Hector McDonnell Antrim, Northern Ireland
Castle Mingarry Councillor: Douglas K MacDonald
New Hampshire, USA
Castle Dunaverty Councillor: Malcolm C. McDonald Queensland, Australia
Castle Invergarry Councillor: William McDonald
Milton, New Zealand
Castle Borve Councillor:
Donald Munro, Dean of the Isles, writing in 1549
described the Council as follows:
"The Council was composed of four of the greatest nobles, four thanes of lesser estate, and four great men of the royal blood of Clan Donald, presided over by the Macdonald as 'Herdsman of the Isles'. The four great nobles were Maclean of Duart, Maclean of Loch Buie, MacLeod of Harris, and MacLeod of Lewis. The four thanes were MacKinnon, MacNeil of Barra, MacNeil of Gigha, and one other. The four great men of Clan Donald were the Chief of Clanranald, Maclain of Ardnamurchan, Macdonald of Kintyre, and the chief of the Clan, Alasdair Carrach of Lochaber (the Macdonalds of Keppoch). The Council was also attended by the Abbot of Iona and the Bishop of the Isles."
The Modern Political "Council of the Isles"
The British-Irish Council, established in 1998 following the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent devolution settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is also known as the Council of the Isles. It is an inter-parliamentary body promoting the common interests between the various parliamentary bodies in the British Isles, namely: the States of Guernsey, the States of Jersey, the Oireachtas of Ireland, the Tynwald of the Isle of Man, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the United Kingdom Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.
At their meeting on March 3rd, 2009, the High Council of Clan Donald
approved the following appointments to the Finlaggan Council:
The position of Toiseach will be filled by Malcolm MacDonald of Australia.
New members to the Council are:
John Pyke ( Canada), Castle Dunluce Councillor
Ian MacDonnell ( Australia ), Castle Aros Councillor
Mark MacDonald (USA), Castle Ardtornish Councillor
Evelyn Goulet ( Canada), Castle Tioram Councillor
The High Council welcomes these additions, who bring a variety of skills to the FinlagganCouncil,
increasing the strength and versatility of the team in several important areas.
We look forward to working closer with the Council and
wish Malcolm MacDonald every success as our new Toiseach.