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Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has held a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the next National Gaelic Language Plan.
Prepared by Bòrd na Gàidhlig on behalf of the Scottish Ministers, consultation has started on the fourth Plan which represents the principle vehicle for detailing public strategy and policy for the promotion of the language.
The islands MSP was joined in the debate by MSPs from across the political spectrum.
‘I would like to thank all those who took part, contributed or engaged with the debate,; he said.
‘The new parliamentary term will be important in securing the status and vitality of the Gaelic language, and I felt it was important these issues should be discussed early.
‘Much good has happened since the Gaelic Language Act was passed in 2005: we now have BBC Alba, Gaelic medium education has grown, many public bodies now have Gaelic language plans, and the place of Gaelic in culture and the arts is now much stronger.’
Mr Allan also pointed out however that, at the very time when interest in Gaelic is growing, the decline in the use of the language in island communities has been worsening.
He added: ‘Just as we need to recognise Gaelic belongs to all of Scotland, here is also a need for Gaelic policies that are more tailored to the needs of vernacular communities, and which acknowledge the difference between planning for the language needs of a school and those of an island.
‘We have an opportunity now, with our new National Gaelic Plan, to do something , to make sure that the promotion of Gaelic is not just a question of how many people have Gaelic, but of how many people use it.’