SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT – CROSS PARTY GROUP ON GAELIC

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					SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT – CROSS PARTY GROUP ON GAELIC


Minute of the meeting of the Cross Party Group on Gaelic, held in the Scottish
Parliament Building, Holyrood, Edinburgh on Wednesday 25th March 2009 at
1.00pm.

Present: John F. Munro MSP (Convener); Archie Maclean, (Secretary); Cllr Biz
Campbell (Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd); Iain MacDonald (Comann nam Parant); John
MacLeod (An Comunn Gaidhealach), Margaret Lobban (Fàs & Am Bothan); Mata
MacIomhair (UHI); Ceitidh Mhoireach (Am Bothan); Norma Martin (City of Edinburgh
Council); David Thompson MSP; Allan MacRae (PPC Lib Dem); Marc Mac an Fhilidh
(Pàrlamaid na h-Alba); Cllr Hamish Fraser (Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd).


1     Welcome & Apologies
      John F Munro MSP, Convener of the Group welcomed all present to the meeting.
      He extended a special welcome to Allan MacRae who was the prospective
      parliamentary candidate for the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Ross, Cromarty and
      Skye.

      Apologies had been received from:
      Rob Gibson MSP; D. J. MacIntyre; Alasdair Allan MSP (Vice Convener); Donald
      Weir (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar); Dòmhnall MacGille-mhoire (Bòrd na
      Gàidhlig); Alasdair MacCallum (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba); Douglas Ansdell
      (Riaghaltas na h-Alba); Rosemary Ward (Bòrd na Gàidhlig); Alison Lang (MG
      Alba);Martainn Mac an t-Saoir (Coimhearsnachd Ghàidhlig Dhun Eideann);
      Agnes Rennie (C.N.E.S.).

2     Minute of Meeting of 28 January 2009
      The minute of meeting of 28 January was approved.


3     Matters Arising

      3(i) BBC Alba/Freeview
      A letter had been sent to the BBC Trust expressing the Cross Party Group’s
      disappointment that many Gaelic-speaking viewers did not have access to the
    service and demanding that the channel be made available on Freeview
    immediately. A response had been received from Sir Micheal Lyons, Chair of the
    BBC Trust, indicating that the review of the service would now commence later
    in 2009, rather than in 2010 as had previously been planned.

    The Group felt that the wider Gaelic community be encouraged to express their
    support for the new service, either through a letter writing campaign, or by raising
    a petition. Highland Council had also written to the Trust expressing their
    displeasure with the current situation and urging them to review the proposed
    timetable.

    3(ii) Gaelic at Railway Stations
    A reply had been received from Transport Scotland regarding their intention to
    develop bilingual signage on railway stations, rolling stock and printed materials.

    The Group welcomed this development.

    3(iii) Gaelic Organisations’ Use of Scottish Parliament Building
    Following difficulties regarding a request from CLI Gaidhlig to hold their AGM
    within the Scottish Parliament it was agreed to write to the Events Co-ordinator to
    express the Cross Party Group’s displeasure and to explore whether there was any
    way around this. This had been actioned and the Group awaited a reply.


4   Updates from Members

    (i) Iomairtean Cànain – Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG)

    Archie Maclean, Chief Executive of CnaG led a discussion regarding community
    language initiatives being taken forward across Scotland. These initiatives were
    broadly based on a Welsh language development model – Menter Iaith, which has
    been successful in increasing the number of Welsh speakers. Mr. Maclean
    outlined how these initiatives would be taken forward, involving a high level of
    co-operation between organisations based in the target communities, including
    local councils, Gaelic agencies, development agencies and national organisations.

    The Iomairtean Gàidhlig would focus on particular projects which would increase
    the use of the language amongst young people, in schools, colleges, in sport, the
    arts and in business.

    The Iomairt Gàidhlig Officer would act as a catalyst for change in the community.
    They would work with a local Steering Group to implement priorities identified
    by that Group.
    Mr. Maclean outlined the current situation regarding the Iomairtean Gàidhlig and
    future plans for their development.

    The Chair thanked Mr. Maclean for his presentation. This was followed by a wide
    ranging discussion on issues arising from the presentation.


    (ii) Bilingual Road Signage

    Highland Council had raised their concerns that anecdotal evidence had been used
    to justify a review of bilingual road signage, which would take three years to
    complete. They had hoped that this issue had been resolved long ago. The Group
    were assured by MSP’s that the review would be completed much sooner than the
    three years initially envisaged and that the Minister for Gaelic was fully
    supportive of bilingual road signage.

    There were no further updates from Members.


5   AOCB

    (i) The Group had contacted the University of Strathclyde to enquire as to
    whether the post of Head of Gaelic Teacher Education, which had recently been
    made vacant with the departure of Dr. Boyd Robertson to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, was
    likely to be advertised in the near future. A reply was awaited.

    (ii) Gaelic in the Church – Dr. Mata MacIomhair updated the Group regarding the
    development of Gaelic language modules for delivery through Highland
    Theological College as part of the B.A in Theology programme. The Group
    welcomed this development. As an important part of the Gaelic community, it
    was crucial that the church was supported to maintain provision through the
    language.

    There was no further competent business

6   Date of Next Meeting

    The next meeting would be held on Wednesday 29 April at 12.30 for 1.00pm
    start.

				
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