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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Gael warning to ministers
Gaelic school
Ministers have been urged to take immediate action
Ministers have been urged to take immediate action to save the Gaelic language in Scotland.

An official report has called for the introduction of a Gaelic language act and the establishment of a new development board.

It is thought there could be as few as 50,000 Gaelic speakers left.

And campaigners have said that the Scottish Executive must act now or watch the language die.

Professor Donald Meek
Professor Meek: Immediate action

The report, entitled A Fresh Start for Gaelic, was prepared by the Ministerial Advisory Group on Gaelic, which was led by Professor Donald Meek of Edinburgh University.

It follows the earlier McPherson report, on which little action was taken.

This time Prof Meek said the need for action was immediate.

There are only 2,000 children currently going through Gaelic-medium education and the number of people speaking the language is decreasing.

The report wants legislation to give the language official status and provide parents with the legal right to have their children educated in Gaelic.


It is make or break time for Gaelic

John MacLeod of FS

The new development board suggested would be a government agency with its headquarters in Inverness with a budget of 5m a year, doubling the amount of support given to Gaelic.

Minister for Gaelic, Mike Watson, said he is a strong supporter of the language and he will consider the recommendations carefully.

John MacLeod, of the Gaelic campaigning group FS (Gaelic for Grow), said ministers should "stop publishing endless reports" and take action.

Mr MacLeod said: "It is make or break time for Gaelic.

"All of those who wish to see a secure future for Gaelic in Scotland hope that this is the final report into the language.

"If there is one thing that is not lacking in the Gaelic world it is reports and reviews. There is a grave danger that Gaelic is being reported to death. "

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
John MacLeod of Gaelic campaigning group FS
"We are really quite tired of seeing report after report and are calling for action."
Aileen Clarke reports
"Only 2,000 children are currently getting their lessons in Gaelic"
See also:

16 Mar 02 | Scotland
13 Oct 01 | Scotland
08 Sep 00 | Scotland
02 Mar 00 | Scotland
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