On the opening day of the 2010 Royal National Mòd, the Minister for Gaelic said a new generation of Gaelic speakers can be achieved by the Gaelic community working together.
Speaking in Thurso ahead of the Mòd’s opening ceremony, Fiona Hyslop restated the Scottish Government’s commitment to Gaelic, announcing £74,000 to expand the Gaelic-medium unit at Glenurquhart Primary School in Drumnadrochit.
This grant will enable purchase of modular units which will increase the school’s capacity to deliver Gaelic-medium education.
Ms Hyslop also took the opportunity to announce that Allan Campbell is the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year. Skye-born Mr Campbell has been at the forefront of the promotion of Gaelic for many years, having had a career in broadcasting before holding the post of Chief Executive at Comunn na Gàidhlig then Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Minister for Gaelic Fiona Hyslop said:
“The Royal National Mòd is a unique celebration of the richness of Scotland’s Gaelic culture and a welcome economic boost to the host area. The competition’s emphasis on Gaelic learning is of great value and demonstrates how all Gaelic organisations have an important role to play in promoting and encouraging acquisition of the language.
“The Scottish Government is committed to a secure and sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland. That is why we are fully behind the measures Bòrd na Gàidhlig outlined in its Action Plan to create a new generation of Gaelic speakers.
“The funding announced today demonstrates our commitment to that new generation of Gaelic speakers by increasing the ability of local authorities to meet parental demand for Gaelic-medium education. I encourage all Gaelic bodies to embrace the Bòrd’s Action Plan and to work with us, and together, for the long-term future of the language.
“Allan is a most worthy recipient of the Ambassador award. His lifelong support and commitment to promotion of the language has been hugely beneficial. Allan demonstrates exactly the kind of support Gaelic needs to secure its future and I am sure he will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate for the language.”
Chairman of Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie, welcomed the announcement and said:
“Glenurquhart Primary is a highly successful, popular school which prides itself on high achievement. The announcement today is very good news and brings the hopes and aspirations of the whole community, including staff, parents and pupils, of the new permanent Gaelic-medium department a step closer.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee described Gaelic-medium education as the best way to preserve the Gaelic language.
Mr Fraser said:
“2010 is a special year as we are celebrating 25 years of Gaelic-medium education in the Highlands. Glenurquhart Primary is the latest investment by the Council as we believe providing Gaelic-medium education represents the best hope for reversing the decline of Gaelic in the Highlands. Therefore it remains a high priority for us and the funding announced today will allow us to move the project forward and create a legacy for many years to come.”
John Angus Mackay, Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, was delighted by the news and said that results were beginning to be seen.
Mr Mackay said:
“I am delighted at this news because it shows that tripartite dialogue between Highland Council, the Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig is beginning to deliver results and this gives us a more positive foundation on which to move forward the Action Plan Ginealach Ùr na Gàidhlig.”
John Macleod, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, which organises the Royal National Mòd, welcomed the announcement of Mr Allan as the new Gaelic Ambassador of the Year and said:
“Allan is a household name in the Gaelic community from his regular broadcasting roles. He has been a crucial contributor to Gaelic activities, including the legislative establishment of Bòrd na Gàidhlig in 2005. Since his retirement, Allan has continued to take a very active role in Gaelic development and we are proud to again welcome him on stage in Caithness as the popular Chairman of the Royal National Mòd Gold Medal competition.
“The funding for the new Gaelic-medium unit at Glenurquhart Primary School in Drumnadrochit is very welcome and will be an important boost towards increasing the much needed new generation of Gaelic speakers in the area.”
The Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year award is now in its third year. The award acknowledges individuals who have made a particular contribution to the promotion of Gaelic. Singer songwriter Julie Fowlis received the award at the 2008 Mòd in Falkirk. Anne Lorne Gillies received last year’s award in Oban.
The Royal National Mòd was founded in 1891 with the first Mòd held in Oban in 1892. It is held in a different area of Scotland in October of every year. Last year it was in Oban and this year Caithness. The Mòd is a competitive celebration of Gaelic culture. Competitions will be held throughout the week in song, music, recitation and more. There is also a programme of fringe events around the competitions.