A letter from the Ceannard to Bauer Media (Scotland)

Graham Bryce
Bauer Media


I write to you from the public body responsible for the promotion of Gaelic language and culture in Scotland. Under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, passed by the Scottish Parliament, Gaelic is an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to English.

We were very disappointed to hear a member of your staff deliver a comedy newspiece on your radio station, Clyde 1, around 1745 on 11.08.2020.

The mocking and belittling of Gaelic language and culture and the islands was done in poor taste, and is unacceptable in a progressive and modern-day Scotland. Such behaviour towards a minority group is not acceptable. Whilst the broadcaster may have thought this to be harmless, there is now, in Scotland, a positive disposition toward the language and so this is not only in bad taste toward speakers but to Gaelic language supporters far and wide.

Social attitudes have come a long way in recent years with an increasing recognition of the positive impacts of diversity in a modern society and we would urge that Clyde 1 offer a public apology for this broadcast and confirm that this type of content will not be broadcast in the future.
Finally, Bòrd na Gàidhlig would be willing to meet with Clyde 1 management to discuss how to engage with the language and community in a more positive way.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Deagh dhùrachd

Shona C MacLennan

Cc Glenn Preston, Director, Ofcom Scotland

Statement – 04.08.2020

A spokesperson for Bòrd na Gàidhlig board, said:

“Our continued development of and investment in Gaelic is constantly delivering positive results. This year alone Bòrd na Gàidhlig is working with 68 public authorities on Gaelic language plans, and since April has established a new fund to support organisations impacted on by the COVID-19 situation, and to date, has provided £1million to more than 60 organisations to help them deliver Gaelic services and projects across the whole of Scotland. In addition, we are providing regular input to government consultations on the impact of COVID-19 on all policy areas that are important to Gaelic.

“Our initiative with partners to deliver support to young people using Gaelic at home, has delivered thousands of activity sessions online during lockdown and will continue to create more opportunities in the coming months, and we have agreed with our main partners alternative ways to deliver the activities that we fund. The number of children learning through Gaelic medium education has risen in the past 12 months by 10%, and the number of Gaelic teachers has increased by 5% this year, which represent an increase of 33% in the past 10 years.”

Aithris na Maidne – 14.07.2020

Mary MacInnes, Chair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig – Aithris na Maidne

Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Mary MacInnes, did an extended interview on Aithris na Maidne, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, this morning focusing on the debate following the publication of the book on Gaelic in the vernacular community. The main points of the interview were:

The Bòrd has not yet discussed the findings of the book formally. However, debate on how to take forward Gaelic is always welcome. There are concerns about the impact of the messages from the book being magnified in these challenging times, and the debate has been hard on all those involved in Gaelic development.
It is now becoming clear that the book is based on research gathered three years ago and that most of the policy referred to is based on the second National Gaelic Language Plan (2012-17).

The focus of the current National Plan is on using Gaelic, whereas the second plan concentrated primarily on learning Gaelic and education.

Increasing the use of Gaelic is achieved in many different ways – through Gaelic language plans, through the work of the Gaelic organisations, through community groups, Gaelic officers, in social media. But we need to do much more.

The current National Plan recognises that other issues impact on Gaelic – such as the economy, availability of housing, affordable and effective transport and digital connectivity – and Gaelic should be considered when developing all of these policies.

This Plan recognises that there are different communities of Gaelic speakers – island and rural areas; those in towns and cities; and an online community; and that different strategies are required to support these.
The island communities are changing; there are many in the islands who are not Gaelic speakers and we all need to develop different responses to meet the challenges and complexity of language development.
About £1 million of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s funding is spent in the Western Isles annually, which supports employment, projects, activities and services.

The Bòrd has not discussed the recommendation that there should be a community trust for Gaelic. Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which is a public body, has board members who are very experienced in community development. The islands have a very strong Third Sector with effective structures and there are opportunities to strengthen Gaelic within this and to increase communications between them.

In conclusion, more people in the islands need to use Gaelic more often, Bòrd na Gàidhlig needs to do more, the Government needs to do more, the Gaelic organisations need to do more and the local authorities, particularly Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Council and Argyll and Bute Council need to do more.

You can listen to the interview in Gaelic here.

Statement – 02.07.2020

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said:

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes any research which contributes to our understanding of Gaelic in Scotland today. We have not had an opportunity to read the book, but we have had helpful discussions with the research team ahead of publication.

Our understanding is that one of the key messages from the research is that for the older generation of Gaelic speakers in the islands, Gaelic was and remains the default language of the community. For most younger people, the default language is now English. This finding will come as no surprise to anyone who lives in the islands or anywhere else and is a pattern that you will find in minoritised language communities across the globe.

Education policy in the Western Isles recognises the challenges for an indigenous minority language and now all children enter Gaelic medium education unless they choose to opt out. It has also been the success of Gaelic medium education that has led to the growth in numbers of speakers outwith the Western Isles, with, for example, the Glasgow Gaelic school is regularly one of the top performing schools in Scotland.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and our partners in the public sector are listening and willing to discuss with island communities what else they want to happen, in addition to the many positive things which are already in place, to encourage greater use of Gaelic in the islands and elsewhere.

The primary aim of the current National Gaelic Language Plan is that Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations. The Plan was prepared based on wide consultation with many communities and organisations, and the findings of the book would appear to confirm that this remains a reasonable and necessary aim.

Statement – 22.06.2020

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has worked with partners across the Gaelic community, public authorities and Scottish Government to ensure that Gaelic continues to be used by as many people as possible at home at this difficult and unprecedented time.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig acted quickly and flexibly to ensure that our funding to organisations continued, resulting in new and creative ways of thinking and delivery during lockdown. We are fully satisfied that the work these organisations are delivering in local and national initiatives is effective in supporting pupils in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) under these difficult circumstances.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also recently launched a new COVID-19 funding scheme with the aim of helping organisations recover and for the development of new resources and services to support the use of Gaelic whilst restrictions are in place.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig have pushed for Scottish Government to provide advice on GME and encouraged other Gaelic organisations to add to that campaign. This has resulted in an Advice Note being prepared and is scheduled to be published imminently. It will inform the work of the local authorities (LAs) who are responsible for the delivery of education.

The Bòrd Education Team has worked directly with Education Scotland who are assessing currently Local Authority School Return planning, and is engaged in developing the Initial Impact Assessment process which will support Local Authorities in successfully re-opening the school system.

All parties acknowledge that the GME on-line support for young people has been impressive in terms of the quality and range of materials and the speed of the response. Many of the bodies responsible for this are funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Bòrd have been active in supporting this response and ensuring that excellent support is in place for teachers, parents and young people in GME.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the organisations we fund stand ready to support local authorities as they formalise their plans for blended learning and we are already engaged in these discussions at a local and national level.
At the same time, the Bòrd na Gàidhlig team has continued, in these unprecedented circumstances, to undertake our statutory duties as outlined in the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

New resource for Early Years 0-3 groups launched by Bòrd na Gàidhlig

A Toolkit for Early Years 0-3 groups will be launched on Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s website today.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig have prepared the Toolkit to provide guidance and information to Gaelic early years groups in order to support them in establishing and running their groups.

Evidence shows that these groups are extremely important in the initial steps of grasping the language and using it in the community setting and at home. Children pick up the language subconsciously and this prepares them to transition into Gaelic Medium Education.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “Gaelic Education is a priority area for the Scottish Government and we recognise the importance of giving young people an immersive language experience at an early stage in life.

“I welcome the Bòrd’s activity in supporting parents and Early Learning Groups who wish to create these opportunities for our young people and I hope that this toolkit will be invaluable in delivering these aims.”

Many early years’ groups have received support through the partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Comann nam Pàrant with help from funding from the CYPFEIF & ALEC fund. At the groups, the children have the opportunity to learn songs, rhymes, short stories and helpful phrases to use at home during play.

Màiri Morrison, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Education Officer, who has been working on the Toolkit said, “We at Bòrd na Gàidhlig are aware that it’s volunteers that run most of these groups and we wanted to make sure that there was guidance and help there for those who are taking on this important work. With committees starting in many different areas in Scotland where parents would like to set-up Gaelic Medium Education, the Toolkit has been utilised already. We hope that it will support good governance in early years’ groups and assist the exceptional work that is going on in this sector.”

In the Toolkit there are three sections: Introduction, Finance and Staff. Each section gives helpful, practical and resourceful information to groups that are already established and to those that have no experience of setting up a group. There are also templates that will help with invoices, registration forms, posters, leaflets for parents, guidance with filling in funding applications amongst lots more.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig appreciate their close partnership with Comann nam Pàrant and consequently, to the funding from CYPFEIF & ALEC used to support early years’ groups and for this new publication. The Bòrd would also like to thank Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) for their support in the development of aspects of the resource.

Jaci Douglas, Chief Executive of CALA said, “It’s great to see this useful and engaging resource being published by Bòrd na Gàidhlig which fits so well with our ongoing partnership to support Gaelic Toddler Groups. Setting up a Gaelic group can seem daunting but these resources take parents through the process step by step and supports them at every turn and is extremely practical and easy to use. We look forward to continuing our support for the Gaelic early years sector which we hope will continue to grow and thrive.”


Media contact
Megan MacLellan (Communications Officer) on 07584 103 944 or megan@gaidhlig.scot

Foras na Gaeilge and Bòrd na Gàidhlig launch new Colmcille website

Foras na Gaeilge and Bòrd na Gàidhlig are pleased to launch a new website today for the Colmcille programme, which links Ireland and Scotland. The newly designed site is launched on the 9th June, the Feast Day of St Colmcille. The website incorporates a new logo for Colmcille, the partnership programme linking Irish and Scottish Gaelic. The co-hosted site is available in Irish and Scottish Gaelic and English and is integrated with social media channels.

The 6th century Saint Colmcille founded the abbey of Iona which played a central role in spiritual life and broader culture in Ireland, Scotland and the north of England. The abbey and its sister foundations left major cultural landmarks, including the Book of Kells. The 1500th anniversary of his birth in Donegal will see a year-long commemoration, Colmcille 1500, from the 7th December 2020 to the 7th December 2021.

The launch event highlights include

  • A Facebook talk by Dr. Brian Lacey, ‘Colmcille’, on 8 June. You can view the talk by following the Colmcille (@colmcille1500) Facebook page.
  • Medieval chant for the feast of St Colmcille, recorded on the 8th of June 2019 the eve of the feast, will be available to all on Soundcloud.>
  • A Foras na Gaeilge Instagram takeover based on Colmcille on the 9th of June with Edel Ní Churraoin, Raidió Fáilte and Brìghde Chaimbeul.
  • CHARTS, the Argyll based Scottish culture & heritage organisation, launch a monthly arts award scheme and online exhibition to profile and support Gaelic artists work, aligned to themes of Colmcille on 15th June.
  • Colmcille 2020: A drawing competition to encourage children to embrace the stories on the new website. Irish and Scottish winners will be awarded with prizes based on illustrations on how they imagine Colmcille would appear in 2020. You can register for the event in advance at the Comcille (@colmcille1500) Facebook page. The winners will be announced on the 26th of June.
  • A Gaeilge/Gàidhlig quiz hosted by Aodán Ó Cearbhaill and Eoghan Stewart based on Irish & Scottish culture and languages.

Seán Ó Coinn, Foras na Gaeilge chief executive officer said “The Feast-Day of St Colmcille is an appropriate time to renew and celebrate our links with the broader Gaelic world in Scotland, the Isle of Man and with Gaelic speakers farther afield. I would invite people to use the website to renew friendships between Ireland and Scotland.”

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer said “St Columba’s historical significance in Scotland cannot be underestimated. He arrived in Scotland at a time of bloody rivalries between warrior tribes. He went on to unite not just the Gaels, but also the Picts, who for centuries had resisted invaders, including the might of the Roman empire.”

Visit www.colmcille.net to view the new site and for details on all launch events.

Join us on social media through the #Colmcille1500 and #Colmcille hashtags and connect with the diverse Colmcille community online. Follow us on Instagram @_Colmcille to keep updated on all our latest news!

Bòrd na Gàidhlig responds to Scotland’s route map

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.

Board meetings to be made public for the first time

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s board meetings will be streamed live from Tuesday 26 May 2020.

This is the first time the Board has invited the public to meetings and demonstrates the Board’s commitment to increase openness and transparency following the Audit report by Deloitte last year.

This development is 4 months ahead of schedule, with meetings previously due to be made public in Inverness from September 2020.

Newly appointed Chair, Màiri MacInnes said: “One of the first things I aimed to do after being appointed was to make our meetings open to the public and ensure it happened as quickly as possible. Due to the dedicated work of employees we were able to bring this forward by four months and share the work of Bòrd na Gàidhlig to those who are most interested in it – the public.

“We welcome Gaelic speakers from across the country to come and listen to the meeting and the points discussed.”
In the first instance, Gaelic speakers are invited to watch the meeting with agenda and relevant papers being published online 5 days before each meeting. In the months to come, the Bòrd will look at ways to simulcast meetings in Gaelic with an English translation for non-Gaelic speakers.

Quarterly Board Meeting
Tuesday 26th May 2020 – 10.00-15.00
Streamed live online via link on the Bòrd’s website.
Agenda and papers can be found here:

Programme of live online Gaelic medium activities launched to support parents – #cleachdiaigantaigh / #useitathome



Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s website will host the online programme with links to a range of interactive resources and after school events for young people.  This will allow children to use their Gaelic in the home setting.  

The Bòrd have been working closely with Gaelic youth organisations Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) to develop the online programme. Some of these live afterschool activities include online music lessons, baking tutorials, scavenger hunts and home work help amongst a range of others. 

Daibhidh Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Developments said:  

“It is important at this time that, now more than ever, young people are supported to use Gaelic at home as much as possible, at a time when schools are closed and other face-to-face after school activities are on hold.” 

“We want to bring lots of information together in one, easily accessible place, signposting to a range of activities that will help young people access on-line Gaelic medium extra-curricular activities.  We hope that over the next few weeks, more organisations will add to and enhance the programme further.” 


“We would encourage the Gaelic community to use the #cleachdiaigantaigh hashtag to share resources, ideas and content to support the use of Gaelic as much as possible at this time in homes across the country.” 


“Family members and friends can help too by speaking Gaelic as often as they can with young people – in person, on-line or on the phone – ensuring that their language skills continue to develop during this time and into the future.” 

#cleachdiaigantaigh / #useitathome is the next stage of the successful #cleachdi.  Launched last year, this campaign’s aim is to encourage Gaelic speakers to let Scotland and the world know they are proud to speak the language. 

Groups funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Fèisean nan Gàidheal and CnaG will be encouraging the use of #cleachdiaigantaigh / #useitathome with their participants. 

Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s chief executive officer said: “In common with many organisations across the country we at Fèisean nan Gàidheal have to find ways to deliver our work in a different format during these challenging times.  We warmly welcome #cleachdiaigantaigh and fully expect to augment the programme to assist young people to use their Gaelic in an online community.” 

CnaG’s Chief executive, Donald MacNeill said: “A key strength of CnaG’s Iomairtean network is the close link between our officers and young people in their own schools and communities. Our focus is always to try and offer fun and engaging activities beyond the classroom, and at a time like this, we’ll try to use those local connections to deliver these same principles of fun and excitement via online platforms.” 

In order to further support parents in their efforts to home school their children in Gaelic Medium Education, a new website ‘Ionnsachadh Dachaigh’ has been launched this week by Stòrlann Nàiseanta Na Gàidhlig.   

More details can be found on their website: https://www.storlann.co.uk/. 

The #cleachdiaigantaigh programme will be live on Monday 4th May and can be found on the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website: www.gaidhlig.scot.