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Gaelic in modern Scotland
Gaelic in modern Scotland

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4.3.4 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act

On 21 April 2005 the Scottish Parliament passed the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act. The purpose of the act, in the language of its introductory text, is:

‘To establish a body having functions exercisable with a view to securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language, including the functions of preparing a national Gaelic language plan, of requiring certain public authorities to prepare and publish Gaelic language plans in connection with the exercise of their functions and to maintain and implement such plans, and of issuing guidance in relation to Gaelic education.’

Box 6 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005

The Act – an overview

  1. These Explanatory Notes have been prepared by the Scottish Executive in order to assist the reader of the Act. They do not form part of the Act and have not been endorsed by the Parliament.

  2. The Notes should be read in conjunction with the Act. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Act. So where a section or schedule, or part of a section or schedule, does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

  3. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 establishes a body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig (the Bòrd), to promote the use and understanding of the Gaelic language and enables the Bòrd to require certain public bodies to prepare and implement plans which will set out how they will use the Gaelic language in the exercise of their functions.

  4. Section 1 establishes the Bòrd with the functions of promoting the use and understanding of the Gaelic language; promoting and advising on Gaelic language, culture and education matters; and reporting to the Scottish Ministers on the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in relation to the Gaelic language.

  5. Section 2 requires the Bòrd to develop a national Gaelic language plan setting out how it proposes to exercise those functions.

  6. Sections 3 to 8 enable the Bòrd to require relevant public authorities to prepare and implement Gaelic language plans. These plans will set out how the public authority will use the language in connection with the exercise of its functions.

  7. Section 9 provides for the Bòrd to issue guidance on the provision and development of Gaelic education.

This overview forms an introduction to the 2005 act. A copy of the act and of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s first National Plan for Gaelic (2007) may be accessed here [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Bòrd na Gàidhlig was constituted in 2005 as the body referred to in the Act. It produced a National Plan for Gaelic (including a national strategy for Gaelic education) in 2007 and has since overseen the production of Gaelic Plans by a number of public bodies.