Future of Gaelic (Community Engagement)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27th January 2021.

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Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

7. To ask the Scottish Government how it has been engaging with Gaelic-speaking communities on the future—[


] (S5O-04967)

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I think that that question is on the future of the language, cabinet secretary.

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is committed to on-going development of the Gaelic language. Our engagement with Gaelic-speaking communities is essential to that, and in October I initiated two consultation events with representatives of various island communities to hear from them how they feel communities could be supported to ensure that the Gaelic language thrives. I held a gathering of Gaelic-interested individuals on 17 December to consider next steps, and we will meet again on 1 February.

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

I thank the cabinet secretary for his on-going engagement and commitment to the issue. As we will hear at next week’s meeting, there is a good degree of consensus on the existential threat to Gaelic in some communities. We are fortunate that there is broad support across Parliament for supporting the language. What consideration is being given to putting new emphasis on developments in the language at community level?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I very much welcome Dr Allan’s engagement in the debate, in which he has advanced his concerns and aspirations around the Gaelic language. I am appreciative of Dr Allan and a number of other parliamentary colleagues—Donald Cameron, Rhoda Grant, John Finnie and Willie Rennie—for their engagement in the Gaelic gathering, and to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes, for her sustained interest.

Much of our focus on the Gaelic language has recognised that many aspects, such as digital, broadcasting and Gaelic-medium education, are going well. The area that is finding it tough is support for the vernacular community. I am looking carefully at what more we can do to support the vernacular community in development of the Gaelic language, and to make sure that there is a strong and nurturing environment in which to increase participation. We can reflect on some of those issues in our discussion on Monday.