Bòrd na Gàidhlig has provided important information to Scottish Government on what is required to protect Gaelic in the COVID-19 situation and the opportunities that the language and culture gives to Scotland as the country comes out of lockdown. The information is based on discussions with various Gaelic organisations, working in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
The document explains the key challenges for Gaelic currently and also the benefits and opportunities the language gives as we work towards the ‘new normal’.
The delivery of Gaelic medium education (GME) is one of the most important points, with a recommendation for special recognition for GME in the months ahead. Furthermore, building on the research from St Andrews University, the Bòrd is seeking protection for the island communities where Gaelic is spoken on a daily basis.
The response also recognises the benefits and opportunities Gaelic gives Scotland. It highlights Gaelic’s cultural wealth, how it contributes to education and skills development, strengthens communities and contributes to the economy. There are new opportunities in tourism developments and, particularly appropriate for island and rural areas, the digital economy.
Mary MacInnes, Chair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said, “We’ve talked to many organisations about their situation currently and we are also very mindful of the initiatives the Government is establishing. It is essential that Gaelic is included as we move forward and we are very pleased to offer any support we can with these initiatives.”
Arthur Cormack, Chief Executive Officer, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, said, “Gaelic artists have contributed to people’s wellbeing at a challenging time when many of them have experienced difficulties making a living. Efforts have been made to support them during the period, but it will be some time before they will have regular employment opportunities again. Gaelic culture is important to the economy. It provides jobs and is key to increasing interest among tourists, for example, in visiting Scotland.”
Allan MacDonald, Chair, MG Alba said, “We support Bòrd na Gàidhlig as they seek to address the key issues in respect of the Covid-19 recovery as the country moves out of lockdown. We must ensure that the digital economic development of our communities continues. We have seen ingenuity and skills which are inspiring and make it clear that our communities are digitally engaged and have the ability to deliver remotely. This bodes well for the future of sustainable Gaelic business growth, not least in the media sphere, and we must capitalise on this.”
Read the information sent to the Scottish Government here.