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The future of the Gaelic language to be discussed at online community conversation

By Louise Glen

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Kate Forbes MSP
Kate Forbes MSP

The Skye leg of a series of community conversations on the future of Gaelic as a community language will take place next week.

The summit at 7pm on Tuesday December 1 will be co-chaired by Kate Forbes, constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and she will be joined by Skye councillor Calum Munro, chairman of Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee, as well as former Highland Council leader and fellow Gaelic advocate Dr Michael Foxley.

The online event is open to anyone with a keen interest in the language and participants can register for the consultation by emailing kate.forbes.msp@parliament.scot

Earlier this year a major study into the use of Gaelic in island communities concluded that the language will fall into obsolescence unless significant changes are made in approach and strategy.

A series of forums have been organised by Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, and it is hoped that these discussions will determine appropriate next steps to safeguard the language’s future.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “Part of the research was done in Staffin and so it seems only right to speak to people in Staffin about the fragility of Gaelic. There are still plenty of people in Skye and Raasay with Gaelic, and it can still be heard throughout the island.

“Urgent work is required to save Gaelic, but as a living language, it won’t be politicians, bureaucracy or tokenistic gestures that make the difference. Ultimately it will be those people for whom it is the language of daily life that can reverse the decline.

“I hope this summit will be a fruitful exercise in doing that.”

Cllr Calum Munro said: “It’s extremely important that Gaelic communities in Skye and Raasay have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The recent research by Soillse clearly sets out the challenges facing Gaelic in terms of usage and transmission.

“Now is the time to consult with communities and to set the agenda for language policy and planning efforts. This online meeting is the first important step in taking this agenda forward.

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