Falkirk councillor’s comment opens debate on Gaelic

Angus McDonald is a defender of Gaelic
Angus McDonald is a defender of Gaelic

Is Gaelic a dead language in the Falkirk area?​

One person who certainly thinks so is Councillor John McLuckie and he made his feelings clear at a recent meeting of Falkirk Council.

When members discussed the Gaelic Language Plan, which aims to boost the use of the language locally, Councillor McLuckie stood up and proclaimed Gaelic was a dead language and, although he said he liked Gaelic music and culture, he could not understand why the Scottish Government wanted to promote something which the vast majority of people in the Falkirk area did not use.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald, one of the driving forces behind the Royal National Mod coming to Falkirk in 2008, was not impressed.

He said: “I am disappointed to hear Councillor McLuckie has referred to the Gaelic language as dead and he has questioned the Scottish Government’s support for the language.

“It is ill-informed ignorance such as this that has left the language in its current condition, fighting for survival. That is why there was cross-party agreement in 2005 to create the Gaelic Language Act (2005), which calls for equal respect for Gaelic with English.

“Sadly, Councillor McLuckie fails to show the respect for the Gaelic language enshrined in the Act.”

According to the report on the Gaelic Language Plan, only 0.67 per cent of the population of Falkirk are able to read, write and speak Gaelic and Falkirk Council is required to raise the “status and profile” of Gaelic and create “practical opportunities” for its use.

The council received a £11,200 grant from Gaelic promotion body Bord na Gaidhilig last August to enable them to pursue the aims of the plan and another £15,000 last session to transport 13 pupils to full time Gaelic education at Condorratt Primary School and Wallace High School.

To date the sum of £400 has been spent from the Bord na Gaidhilig grant - it was used to translate the first draft of Falkirk’s Gaelic Language Plan.

Comments from The Falkirk Herald’s facebook page seemed to agree with Councillor McLuckie, but not all.

Jessie Coyne: “Surely there are better ways to spend this money than teaching kids to speak a language that won’t help their social skills”

Nicolle Chloe Boyd: “There’s no influence of Gaelic on the mainland”

Judith Watson: “My cousin teaches a very popular Gaelic class locally”

Mhairi Ollier: “My son attends a Gaelic club on a Monday after school at Kinnaird Primary and loves it”

Want to comment on this article? Click here to sign up.