Gaelic plan not well received

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THE FORMER leader of Angus Council, Brechin and Edzell councillor Bob Myles, has expressed concern about Angus Council using taxpayers’ cash to teach the Gaelic language.

He believes that the Scottish Parliament’s Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 stretches the resources of Angus Council - and all the other councils in Scotland.

He commented: “In the 2001 census in Angus only 0.6 per cent of the population spoke Gaelic and 1.3 per cent of all Scots and I will bet that not one of them did not speak and understand English perfectly.

“While it might be nice to have a language we could call Scottish, the purpose of language is communication and that can be done quite satisfactorily now and Gaelic should be left to those parents who wish their children to understand it to arrange for their tuition - and pay for it.”

Councillor Myles continued: “The purpose of the council is surely to organise and pay for services that we cannot easily do for ourselves, so we pay them to do it for us, not foist the ambition of a select few on the rest of us.

“If the majority in a council area spoke Gaelic then it would be reasonable, I suppose.

“But while we in Angus have schools desperately needing repair, potholed roads with crumbling edges, illegible road markings - and I could go on - we have not the funds to indulge in some politician’s dream.”

He explained that the draft plan also suggests that we should have dual language on road signs, street name boards, stationery, vehicles, publications, etc.

He stated: “All this for the 0.6 per cent in Angus and 1.3 per cent in Scotland who speak the language! Why not Polish, Urdu, Hindi or Chinese? Probably more of the population would understand them!”

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 was passed by the Scottish Parliament with a view to securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland, commanding equal respect with the English language.

The Act requires the public sector in Scotland to play its part in creating a sustainable future for Gaelic by raising its status and profile in the community, workplace, home and in places of learning. It also established Bòrd na Gàidhlig, a statutory, non-departmental body to promote the use and understanding of the Gaelic language throughout Scotland.

Part of the Bòrd’s role is to require public bodies, as it deems appropriate, to prepare and publish Gaelic Language Plans. Angus Council is one of many public authorities to be issued with a statutory notice to produce a Gaelic Language Plan.

The draft Plan must undergo a six week period of public consultation prior to being submitted to the Bòrd by April 1 for approval. That consultation period finished yesterday (Thursday).

Angus Council chief executive Richard Stiff stated: “There are no financial implications associated with the terms of this report. Any costs associated with any of the recommendations will be met from within current budgets, from successful funding bids to external bodies or will be the subject of a report to committee seeking additional funding.”

Angus Council’s draft plan can be read and downloaded from