Bòrd na Gàidhlig and The Highland Council launch first Gaelic Language Plan

Issued by Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Leugh sa Ghàidhlig
The Highland Council has become the first public body in Scotland to have its Gaelic Language Plan formally approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The Plan, intended to boost the status and use of the language, will be implemented across the Highland Council area between now and 2011.

The Bòrd has the power to issue formal notice under Section 3 of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 to public authorities, requiring them to prepare and submit Gaelic Language Plans within an agreed timeframe.

The Highland Council is the first public authority to do so; with Plans currently in the approval process from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Argyll and Bute Council and The Scottish Parliament. Further Plans are in the pipeline from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Scottish Government.

The Highland Council’s Plan includes the following:

Minister for Gaelic, Linda Fabiani said:

“I welcome this Gaelic Language Plan from The Highland Council which amongst other initiatives ensures that Gaelic speakers can engage with a vital public service in their own language. 

“The Scottish Government has an ambitious programme to raise the profile of Gaelic - ensuring it has a sustainable future and creating opportunities for its use in a wide range of contexts from education to culture to every day public services. 

“This is the first in a series of public bodies to take forward their Language Plan with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, I very much look forward to the others to come and the real benefits these will bring to the Gaelic community and to Scotland.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Chief Executive, Kenneth Murray said:

“We are pleased to announce the approval of the very first Gaelic Language Plan and congratulate The Highland Council on a significant milestone.

“Gaelic Language Plans reflect the aspirations of the National Plan for Gaelic and will mean that Gaelic speakers and learners can access some public services in the language more often and help to ensure that Gaelic is more visible in the authority’s operations. The Highland Council has produced a Plan that will work to achieve this goal.

“It is important to remember that Gaelic Language Plans are not about imposing Gaelic on organisations or people, they are about facilitation not coercion.  The Bòrd, and the organisations we work in partnership with, are keen to create more opportunities for Gaelic speakers and those interested in Gaelic to use the language in as many everyday situations as possible.”

The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park said:

“I am delighted that the Council is the first in Scotland to have its Gaelic Plan approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

“We have devoted a great deal of time and effort towards developing the Plan and this underlines our commitment to promoting the Gaelic language and culture. It is based on the principle of equal respect for Gaelic and English and recognises that the Gaelic language is an integral part of Highland life.”

Gaelic Committee Chairman Councillor Hamish Fraser said:

“This Plan sets out a four-year development programme and proposals for a support structure to sustain these developments. Supported by a Gaelic Development Team and the Gaelic Committee the Plan will focus the Council's commitment to Gaelic and oversee policy and planning for Gaelic throughout all Council services. Our aim is to enable members of the public to access Council services through Gaelic, in line with relevant Council policies.

“This will involve raising awareness of Gaelic to create a positive climate of opinion for Gaelic development. We want to provide a range of opportunities for young people to acquire Gaelic in schools and in learning centres by playing a leading role in the development of Gaelic medium pre-school education and child care; responding positively to parental demand for Gaelic medium primary education and expanding  Gaelic medium provision in secondary schools. We want to encourage Gaelic to be spoken in the home and in the wider community. We want to provide a comprehensive and co-ordinated system of adult tuition in Gaelic, which will enable adult learners to develop their Gaelic throughout and beyond the lifetime of this plan.”

The first six bodies to be formally notified to prepare language plans were: the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Parliament.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the statutory Gaelic Development Agency, established under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 to promote Gaelic both in Scotland and abroad. The Act, which was commenced in February this year, requires the Bòrd to prepare a National Plan for Gaelic to establish a strategic approach to the development of the language and its culture.

For more information about this news release contact Martin Osler on 07739 185522 or at martin.osler@geronimocommunications.com.


29 May 2008