Falkirk Council’s Convenor of Education, Councillor Alan Nimmo, has publically agreed with his colleague John McLuckie that Gaelic is a “dead language”.


Councillor Nimmo’s remarks come hard on the heels of Eric Joyce MP’s outburst on Twitter against the language last weekend.  Eric Joyce’s tweets verged on being racist and he implied that funds being allocated to promotion of Gaelic were a waste of public money.  However his Twitter account attracted many responses in favour of Gaelic.


Angus MacDonald MSP for Falkirk East commented:


 “As Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Gaelic, I was most disappointed to learn that yet another Falkirk Councillor has spoken out against the Gaelic language.  This is in spite of the fact that Falkirk Council recently adopted the local Gaelic Language Plan and accepted £11,200 of external funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the promotion of Gaelic.


“The Falkirk Council Gaelic Plan was prepared under Section 3 of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and is therefore a statutory obligation of the council.

It is inaccurate however to say that funding is disproportionate as nationally  1.2% of the population are Gaelic speakers and funding currently sits at 0.07% - less than one tenth of 1% of the Scottish budget. 


“If, as these public figures state, Gaelic has been in decline it would be due in no short measure to the historical attempts to erase both the language and culture for example the banning of wearing the kilt. 


“Gaelic is an important part of our heritage currently enjoying a renaissance as more people sign up to evening classes and embrace the culture. 


“It is quite shocking that Councillor Nimmo should make public statements in this vein.  Speaking against his council’s own policy, it shows a complete ignorance of what happened historically in Falkirk and what is happening currently. 


“To say that there is no Gaelic influence locally would be completely wrong as many of our local place names have their origins in the Gaelic language e.g. An Eaglais Bhreac meaning the Faw Kirk or speckled church.


“The Royal National Mod was held in Falkirk in 2008, bringing approximately 7000 visitors to the town and an economic boost of 1.5 million pounds just when the economic downturn was kicking in. This was a significant increase to the local economy.  Falkirk Council was happy to see such a substantial boost, including Mr McLuckie and Mr Nimmo who were serving on Falkirk Council at the time.


“I sincerely hope that these councillors will reconsider these offensive statements and prove their commitment to Falkirk Council’s policy of promoting Gaelic and recognise it’s status as one of Scotland’s national languages”.




Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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