Bòrd na Gàidhlig a’ cuimhneachadh air Tormod MacIlleathain agus Seonaidh Ailig Mac a’ Phearsain.

Bha Bòrd na Gàidhlig gu math duilich an naidheachd a chluinntinn an-dè mu bhàs Thormoid MhicIlleathain agus bàs Sheonaidh Ailig Mhic a’ Phearsain. ’S e sàr Ghàidheil a bh’ anns an dithis aca agus iad air an t-uabhas a dhèanamh airson cultar agus cànan na Gàidhlig a bhrosnachadh air feadh an t-saoghail thairis air na bliadhnaichean.

Thug Tormod MacIlleathain tlachd do na mìltean air TBh agus air an àrd-ùrlar agus thug e cultar ’s cànan nan Gàidheal gu aire a’ mhòr-shluaigh leis an iomadh tàlant a bh’ aige.

Tha sinn cuideachd a’ caoidh Sheonaidh Ailig Mhic a’ Phearsain. Am measg na rinn e bha Seonaidh Ailig mar Iar-stiùiriche air Comataidh Craolaidh Gàidhlig agus cuideachd bha pàirt mhòr aige mar Chathraiche san obair a rinn Buidheann-gnìomh Riaghaltas na h-Alba às an tàinig Achd na Gàidhlig.

Thuirt Ailean Dòmhnallach, Cathraiche Bòrd na Gàidhlig “’S e fìor ghaisgich a bh’ ann an Tormod agus Seonaidh Ailig agus tha, agus bithidh, buaidh mhòr leantainneach aig an dithis aca air a’ Ghàidhlig chan e a-mhàin ann an Alba ach thall thairis cuideachd ann an iomadh dòigh. Tha sinn a’ cuimhneachadh an-diugh air Tormod agus Seonaidh Ailig, air na teaghlaichean agus air an iomadh caraid a bh’ aca air fad. Tha iad air dìleab mhìorbhaileach fhàgail againn tro chraoladh, pìobaireachd, bàrdachd agus litreachas agus ’s ann le pròis agus gàire a bhitheas cuimhne againn air an dithis aca.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig team strengthened with two new appointments

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the lead organisation responsible for the promotion of Gaelic in Scotland, has announced the appointment of two new members of staff in their Inverness and Fort William offices.

Tasha Madigan is from Uig on the Isle of Skye and after learning Gaelic at Portree High School, and graduating in Gaelic and History at the University of Aberdeen, Tasha recently completed a Gaelic and Communications course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Tasha will be based in Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Fort William office working as an Early Years Officer.

Christie MacLean is from Beauly and attended Charleston Academy in Inverness and then graduated with a degree in Gaelic and Development at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and previously worked at Highlands and Islands Enterprise as a Graduate Gaelic Development Officer. Christie has taken up the post of Gaelic Plans Implementation Officer and will be based at Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s office in Great Glen House in Inverness.

Welcoming Tasha and Christie to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Chief Executive Shona MacLennan said: “We are delighted to have Tasha and Christie join the team and I am sure that their talents will be put to good use in our work on the promotion and development of the Gaelic language, along with our partners.”

National Museums Of Scotland – Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the lead organisation responsible for the promotion of Gaelic in Scotland has outlined its response to concerns raised within the Gaelic community with regard to the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition which opens at the National Museum of Scotland this weekend.

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Chief Executive, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with National Museums Scotland and many other public authorities to ensure that Gaelic language and culture is actively promoted in their respective organisations and throughout Scotland. The development of Gaelic Language Plans is one of the key measures outlined in the Gaelic Language Act as a means to achieve equal respect for Gaelic in Scotland.
“In their current Gaelic Language Plan, National Museums Scotland make a commitment to include side-by-side English and Gaelic interpretation for exhibitions that have a Gaelic-related theme or connection and the forthcoming Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland seems like an ideal opportunity for National Museums Scotland to build on their good practice established in such exhibitions as Fonn ’s Dùthchas and Lewis Chessmen Unmasked.

“We are aware that concerns have been expressed by members of the Gaelic community at what is seen as a lack of Gaelic content in the exhibition. Recognising and acknowledging the views of the Gaelic community is another important principle contained within the Gaelic Language Act and Bòrd na Gàidhlig sees this discussion as an important part of that.

“There are also fantastic opportunities for National Museums Scotland to engage with Gaelic medium schools and the wider community through the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition and we are happy to offer support and advice to help them maximise the Gaelic experience for all who take part.”

Community at the Centre of Gaelic Language Development

At a recent meeting, the Language Advisory Committee (Comataidh Comhairleachaidh Cànain), a working group established by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and MG ALBA, welcomed a number of progress reports from LEACAG, an inter-university project developing new online resources for the Gaelic language. These resources are aimed at promoting the use of natural, idiomatic Gaelic, in such fields as education, media and formal publications. The committee heard about the next stage of a grammar project which will see LEACAG taking advice from communities on usage by traditional Gaelic speakers.

The committee, chaired by Jo MacDonald, originally from Ness in Lewis, was set up last year.  Other members include Allan Campbell (Skye), Catriona Campbell (South Uist), Ian MacDonald (Grimsay), Duncan MacQuarrie (Mull), Ruairidh Maclean (Applecross), Donald Morrison (Lewis) and Catriona Murray (Harris).  Members of the group were all nominated on the basis of their traditional knowledge and breadth of experience.

Jo MacDonald said, “It is clear that there is good work being done to ensure that Gaelic can continue to grow.  Research carried out in 2014 identified gaps and highlighted how the community wished to proceed in addressing these.  The committee exists to ensure that a range of skills and viewpoints are included as part of the project, whilst ensuring that the resources produced satisfy the identified needs and ultimately enhance the confident use of Gaelic now, and in the future.”

The initial stages of the development include a grammar reference and also the creation of a clear mechanism for assessing and disseminating new terminology.

Both developments have been identified as priorities by the Gaelic community in research carried out for Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The research clearly highlighted the desire from different communities that first-language Gaelic speakers be an integral part of the language development agenda.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Director of Language Planning and Community Developments, David Boag, said, “The Gaelic language continues to develop rapidly, reflecting its place in a modern Scotland.  Through this research we asked the Gaelic community to identify their current needs and, crucially, how we should proceed in developing new resources that reflect the needs of Gaelic speakers across the generations and at different levels of fluency.”

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy and Partnership said: “We’re delighted to be contributing to practical help for Gaelic users, in grammar and in new terminology. This work is both practical and useful, and, importantly, it also has the authority of traditional speakers and academia.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig Supports Cnoc Soilleir Project

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today announced funding for the Cnoc Soilleir project in Uist.

The project is a partnership between both Ceòlas Uibhist and Lews Castle College (UHI) to establish a centre for Gàidhlig music, dance and cultural heritage.  It has been designed to support the growth of Ceòlas, which has been successful in using the Gaelic language naturally within a community setting and attracting national and international audiences to the Gaelic arts and culture.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has awarded funding of £150,000 towards the £7 million project which has already received Scottish Government funding.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald, said: “Increasing the use and status of any minoritised language is important in its revitalisation, as is the economic benefit from activities connected with the language.  The Cnoc Soilleir project is an excellent example of the Gaelic language’s unlimited potential in generating both economic and social benefits to Scotland.  Ceòlas has long been enjoyed by a worldwide audience, including strong connections with Nova Scotia, and has played on the linguistic and cultural strengths of South Uist in particular.”

“Cnoc Soilleir will involve the Gaelic language, culture and community in a unique way. The use of Gaelic in the arts is vital to the future of the language in Scotland, playing an important role in encouraging its use, increasing its visibility, strengthening its appeal while maintaining loyalty to it.  The project will also create new large economic and social benefits to Uist, through the creation of jobs and the generation of additional revenue streams. At the same time it will help increase the number of Gaelic speakers and the opportunities to use the language. It is through innovative initiatives such as this that we must look to support the Gaelic language and our rural communities going forward.”

Welcoming the funding, Ceòlas Board Member, Catrìona MacIntyre, said: “The Ceòlas board are delighted that Bòrd na Gàidhlig is supporting the Cnoc Soilleir project with this generous grant. The Bòrd na Gàidhlig grant will enable us to establish new and improved facilities for teaching Gaelic at the forthcoming Cnoc Soilleir centre and will support the growth of Ceòlas’ Gaelic language learning activities in the heart of South Uist’s Gaelic community. Cnoc Soilleir will be hugely important for Gaelic, for Uist and for the Western Isles and the Bòrd na Gàidhlig grant demonstrates the increasing support for this ground-breaking partnership project. I’m pleased to say that we are at a really exciting point right now, so expect more announcements in the next few weeks.”

New Members Appointed to Bòrd Na Gàidhlig

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced the appointment of Allan Campbell, Fiona Dunn, Jennifer Gilmour and Mary Ann Kennedy as Members of Bòrd Na Gàidhlig.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig was established in 2005 by the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 (the Act) and is the national body responsible for promoting Gaelic language, culture and education in Scotland. Its statutory duties include the delivery of a National Plan for Gaelic and working with public bodies on the development of Gaelic Language Plans.  Based in Inverness, the Bòrd currently manages Grant in Aid of £5.1m.  More information can be found on the Bòrd’s website at www.gaidhlig.scot.

Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to welcome Allan, Fiona, Jennifer and Mary Ann to the Board of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The range of skills and experience they possess will no doubt prove valuable in helping Bòrd na Gàidhlig as it works towards its ultimate objective of reducing Gaelic language decline.

“This is an exciting time for Bòrd na Gàidhlig as they consult on and implement the third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017 – 2022. Additionally, in the last year we have seen the Gaelic provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act take effect, new Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education published and a commitment to expand the provision of funded early learning and childcare from 600 hours to 1140 hours by 2020.”

Allan Campbell has been active in Gaelic language and revitalisation for over 40 years and served as a special adviser to the Ministerial Advisory Group on Gaelic. Allan was appointed as CEO to Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s predecessor, Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Alba), and continued to serve as CEO when the current body was established in 2005.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2008 by the University of Aberdeen for his contribution to Gaelic language development, and in 2010 was named Gaelic Ambassador of the Year by the Scottish Government.  Together with knowledge of Gaelic development Allan also brings to the Bòrd experience in marketing, economic and community development, and broadcasting. Allan is currently a co-opted member of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Estates and finance committee, Honorary Chieftain of Inverness Gaelic Society and was recently appointed President of An Comunn Gàidhealach.

Fiona Dunn is a Gaelic development and policy specialist with a wealth of experience in delivering a range of language development initiatives within the public and higher education sectors. Fiona was the first person to hold a Gaelic Development Officer role within Scottish higher education in 2009 and has previously held Director positions with key Gaelic organisations including Comunn na Gàidhlig and An Lochran.  Fiona was awarded the Workplace Initiative Award in 2013 at the inaugural Gaelic Awards for her work at the University of Glasgow.

Jennifer Gilmour is a play leader with Cròileagan Dhùn Èideann. Jennifer is a Gaelic learner, recently graduating with a BA in Gaelic and Development from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Jennifer is an active committee member of Comann nam Pàrant Dhùn Èideann and served as its convener for two years during the successful campaign for a dedicated Gaelic school in Edinburgh. Jennifer is currently co-producing the City of Edinburgh Council’s Gaelic Language Plan and is a member of the organising committee of Mòd Ionadail Dhùn Èideann.

Mary Ann Kennedy is an urban Gael, born and brought up in the multilingual, multi-cultural southside of Glasgow. She is a musician and broadcaster, running a successful residential recording and creative studio – Watercolour Music in Ardgour, Lochaber, with her husband, producer and musician, Nick Turner. She also has previous experience in news and current affairs, having run the BBC’s Gaelic news service. Her own creative practice focusses on the Gaelic language in a contemporary creative setting, and her particular interests with the Bòrd lie in retention and reclamation of speakers, both learner and native, and in developing language skills through creative expression.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald, said: “I am very pleased to welcome our four new Board Members to Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  Allan, Fiona, Jennifer and Mary Ann each bring with them a range of specialised skills and expertise which include community development skills, broadcasting, and practical knowledge in Gaelic education and language learning.  These appointments will strengthen the Bòrd as we prepare the National Gaelic Language Plan for 2017 -2022, and we look forward to working with our new colleagues in the coming months and years.  It is a very interesting and exciting time in the development of the language as the demand for Gaelic education grows on an annual basis and the number of Gaelic language plans increases across the length and breadth of Scotland, and audience figures remain very impressive between BBC ALBA and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.”

These appointments will be for four years and will run from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.

These appointments are regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

These appointments are part-time and attract a remuneration of £179.20 per day for a time commitment of 3 days per month.

None of the new members appointed to Bòrd na Gàidhlig currently hold no other Ministerial Appointments.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. As stated none of the new appointees upheld any political activity within the last five years.

Response to Press and Journal Article “Gaelic Gestapo forcing Moray to spend £40k” (22/3/2017)

Dear Sir,

I refer to the article prepared by Ben Hendry, Gaelic Gestapo forcing Moray to spend £40k(22/03/2017) and would like to clarify some of the misconceptions in the article.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with public authorities across Scotland to support them to develop and implement Gaelic language plans which are appropriate to their functions.  These plans support opportunities for communities to learn about their heritage, to foster interest in learning one of Scotland’s languages and to allow families to participate in bilingual education.

It is clear from place names in Moray – such as Knockando, Elgin, and Kinloss – that the area has a significant Gaelic heritage and Moray Council’s Gaelic plan offers an opportunity to increase people’s awareness of that heritage.  The often repeated complaints about costs and road signs have been proven time and again to be false.  In fact, your caption for the photograph sums up the situation well – “Road signs will now be written in Gaelic and English, similar to what you find in other parts of the country”.

Gaelic language plans can also provide support for people who want to learn about their heritage, learn and use one of Scotland’s languages, and support for families who want to choose a bilingual education for their children.  There is no evidence at all for Councillor Alexander’s statement that people will be forced to learn it; but there is increasing evidence which demonstrates the benefits of bilingualism, both in terms of attainment in education and for health benefits.

We fully recognise the challenges facing public authorities from public spending cutbacks, however, the sum estimated by the Council of up to an average of £8,000 each year for a 5-year period seems a small cost for residents of Moray to be able to play their part in the plans to create a sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland.  It is, in fact, 0.02% of the Council’s overall budget.

In light of all this, it is extremely disappointing to see the way in which some councillors chose to articulate their concerns, and that you chose to use an offensive quote as your front page headline in reporting the debate.  It is also surprising that you describe Gaelic as ‘a former national tongue’ when many of your readers, growing numbers of schoolchildren, and others across the country use the language every day and when it can be seen in place names and signs across Scotland.

I trust that this will redress some of the inaccuracies presented in the article and that we can all work together in supporting the Gaelic language and culture.

Leis gach deagh dhùrachd

Shona MacLennan
Ceannard (CEO)
Bòrd na Gàidhlig