Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has today urged the Deputy First Minister John Swinney to join him and other elected representatives at an urgent summit to secure the future of Gaelic.
Mr Cameron said: “It is all too easy to become despondent about the future of Gaelic but we cannot be the generation that allows it to die as a living community language."
“Since this UHI report was issued, I’ve had several discussions with fellow MSPs such as Kate Forbes, Alasdair Allan, and Rhoda Grant, as well as a number of councillors and other stakeholders about the vital next steps. There is a wide cross-party consensus that we need to move forward quickly given the urgency of the situation."
“That means taking the UHI report seriously, and taking action, which is why I am urging John Swinney, as Education Secretary, to take part in our discussions at a “summit” in the next few months. I am pleased he gave a positive response to this suggestion."
“I believe the future of the language is, ultimately, in the hands of the remaining Gaelic-speaking communities and, in particular, the younger generation. We need to move quickly and effectively to reverse the decline of the language so that it both survives and thrives in the years to come.”
Donald Cameron’s Question and Supplementary were:
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the action it is taking in response to the UHI publication, The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community.
Supplementary: Since this report was published, there have been informal cross-party discussions amongst MSPs, councillors, and others, about the vital next steps. Will the Cabinet Secretary commit today to attending an urgent meeting or “summit” of elected representatives and other stakeholders, so that we can address the various issues raised by this report, and determine a viable way forward to ensure the long-term future of the language?
The exchange with John Swinney can be viewed here from 14.41.55: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/portfolio-questions-virtual-education-and-skills-august-27-2020
A link to the UHI report referred to by Mr Cameron is here: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/research-enterprise/res-themes/humanities-and-arts/language-sciences-institute/publications/the-gaelic-crisis-in-the-vernacular-community/chapter-1-introduction-/