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Lack of interest in Gaelic plan

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

A SIX week public consultation on the region’s first ever Gaelic language plan garnered just three responses.

It was held earlier this year with copies of the draft plan widely on display in local libraries, public buildings and on the council website.
But only three responses were received, of which one was positive and two negative.
The positive response focused on the historical context of the Gaelic language in Dumfries and Galloway, while the two others raised the question of the Scots language and questioned having a plan.
However, the document – which sets out the local authority’s ambitions for Gaelic over the next five years, has now been submitted to Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
In a report due before councillors next week, officials reveal the plan has been developed on a cost neutral and incremental basis.
It sets out how they will enable the use of Gaelic when communicating with the public and key partners, and the language will be promoted and developed. The 2011 census found 968 Gaelic speakers in Dumfries and Galloway, representing just 0.7 per cent of the population.
In a joint statement, council leader Ronnie Nicholson and education boss Colin Grant said: “Gaelic speakers resident in our council area form a small but important and culturally active part of our community.
“It is our ambition to not only sustain, but to increase these numbers through the aims and actions contained within our Gaelic Language Plan.”

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