Report reveals how many Gaelic speakers live in Fife

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Fife Council has revealed that one in every 30 speakers of Scottish Gaelic are living in Fife.

Kirsty Strachan, Gaelic Development Officer, brought forward a report to the council’s Community and Housing Services committee on Thursday, outlining the Gaelic Language Plan.

Under the 2005 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act, all local authorities are required to demonstrate how they support, develop and secure the equity of the language in their areas.

Ms Strachan told the committee: “In the most recent census, over 3000 people in Fife identified as Gaelic speaking. In our experience, Gaelic learners don’t respond positively to that on census returns.

“We have outstripped the national average with 5% of the national total in Scotland, and we expect that to increase on the next census return. In real terms, that’s one in every 30 Gaelic speakers living and working in Fife.”

The rebranding and promotion of Gaelic will be allocated a budget of £11,000 from Fife Council.

SNP Councillor Alice McGarry said: “I think Gaelic is an indigenous language like many other through out the world and needs to be supported and believe we are moving in the right direction.”

But Conservative Councillor Richard Watt said: “My concern is with the consultation, 31 responses seems a bit low for a nation which has claimed it’s so prevalent. There are no mono-block Gaelic speakers left in Scotland and all of them also speak English. Would this be the correct forum to reject the rebranding?”

However, Labour Councillor Helen Law approved of the report, saying: “I would suggest we do accept the recommendations. I absolutely welcome the report, it is an indigenous language. I have Gaelic speakers in my family and if I wasn’t a councillor, I might sign up to the adult learning because I’ve always wanted to speak the language, so I absolutely support this.”