COUNCILLORS IN MORAY have approved a draft plan that would promote the Gaelic language to its “greatest possible extent”.
Members of the policy and resources committee agreed the plan on Tuesday, following the responsibility by law of all public bodies in Scotland to develop such a plan that would help promote the language.
The approved plan will now go to public consultation after councillors were told that results from the 2011 census showed around 1100 people in Moray had “varying degrees of understanding” of spoken or written Gaelic.
Moray is not recognised as a traditional Gaelic speaking area – although historically it was spoken by most people in the region until the late 18th century. The majority of place names in Moray are adapted from the Gaelic language.
There was a clear reluctance in the council chamber, however, where Fochabers/Lhanbryde member Douglas Ross queried: “Should we be spending £700 translating a Gaelic action plan into Gaelic if everyone reading it is able to read English?”
In a rare show of unity between the former ruling administration colleagues council leader Stewart Cree agreed, saying: “There are many things I would rather the council was spending this money on but we are left with no choice in this. It aggrieves me because we have a lot of other priorities.”
The council’s education director, Lawrence Findlay, earlier explained that they were duty bound to have the plan translated under Scottish Government legislation, but admitted that in Moray over the last three years “perhaps five” parents had asked about Gaelic being taught.
Councillors will reconsider the draft plan when it returns from consultation in December.
(PS – our headline asks if you speak Gaelic)