The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 (the Act), passed by the Scottish Parliament, seeks to secure the status of Gaelic as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language.
The Act builds on existing measures to support the rights of Gaelic and other minority languages, including: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992); the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992); Framework Convention of the Protection of National Minorities (1995); and clauses relating to Gaelic in education, media, civil courts and crofting legislation of the UK and Scottish Parliaments. Among other things, the Act requires Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare and submit to the Scottish Ministers a National Gaelic Language Plan. As such, the National Plan has legal status and is more than a list of corporate priorities.
This Plan meets the Act’s requirement for a revised Plan to be submitted five years after the first and it clearly identifies the main priorities for Gaelic and where available resources should be directed.
The Plan includes proposals for the promotion of strategies for increasing the number able to speak Gaelic, encouraging its use and facilitating access to Gaelic language and culture. It includes priorities that other bodies and authorities should have regard to in respect of Gaelic matters and the preparation of Gaelic Language Plans.