Highlands & Islands

Gaelic 'should be main language' of Western Isles

Scottish government sign
Guidance should be sought on the legality of Gaelic posts, Mr MacLeod said

The president of one of Gaelic's oldest organisations has called for the language to be used more prominently on the Western Isles.

John MacLeod, of An Comunn Gaidhealach, said Gaelic should be the islands' "main language of public affairs".

He said non-speakers could be offered translations using available technology.

Mr MacLeod said those who did not understand Gaelic would not be excluded.

He set out his vision following the launch of the Royal National Mod, which is run by An Comunn Gaidhealach.

Mr MacLeod told BBC Alba: "Gaelic should become the main language of public affairs on the islands.

"That means public service staff who have direct contact with the public should be Gaelic speakers and should make an effort to promote the language by speaking to the public, and encouraging dialogue, in Gaelic as far as possible.

"I am also recommending that public meetings should be in Gaelic and we have facilities that enable meetings like that to be conducted in Gaelic without excluding non-Gaelic speakers."

He added: "We don't want to exclude anyone, but what we want to see is our own native language in this Gaelic heartland promoted and protected."

Mr MacLeod said guidance would be needed from the Scottish government to ensure that making certain local authority posts "Gaelic essential" did not break employment law.

An Comunn Gaidhealach was founded in Oban in 1891. Its aims include the preservation and promotion of Gaelic.

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