Stirling Council has drafted a local plan to consider how it can contribute to Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s aims to “secure the status of Gaelic as an official language of Scotland, commanding equal respect to the English language.”
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the principal public body in Scotland with responsibility for advancing the state of Gaelic language and acts as an advisory body to the Scottish Ministers on Gaelic matters.
One of the key features of the 2005 Act was the provision enabling Bòrd na Gàidhlig to require public authorities to prepare Gaelic Language Plans to ensure that the public sector plays its part in creating a sustainable future for Gaelic.
The draft Stirling plan will be submitted to Full Council and then Bòrd na Gàidhlig for approval in December, following a six-week public consultation which starts today. The plan includes proposed changes across the Council’s services, including its education offering, corporate identity and customer facing functions.
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer said: “The purpose of this consultation is to firstly raise the profile of Gaelic across our communities. It is a cherished piece of Scottish culture and, as such, requires support to promote and protect it.
“The second part is to ask the public if our proposed methods to do just that are correct. The Council provides Gaelic Medium Education (GME) through Riverside Primary School and Gaelic is available both as a course for fluent speakers, and as a modern Language for all students at Wallace High School, but this is about more than just education.
“If Gaelic is to be revitalised as a living language in Scotland, a concerted and combined effort on the part of Government, the public and private sectors, community organisations and individual speakers is required.”
The 2011 census indicated that roughly 1.5% of the Stirling population has some skill in Gaelic through either reading, writing, speaking or understanding the language. The largest group of residents possessing these skills live in the Trossachs and Teith ward of the Council area.
Depute Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane, said: “The census figures suggest Gaelic has marginal visibility in Stirling’s communities but that should not diminish our efforts to protect it.
“Closer inspection tells us there are people who see Gaelic as part of their cultural identity and there are groups across the Council area which keep the language alive locally. We have a responsibility to take this into account and do what we can to protect and celebrate that.
“Our plan sets out how we will continue to make the best use of Gaelic resources in the operation of our services and we’d love the feedback of the public to set our course as we move forward.”
View the consultation at engage.stirling.gov.uk