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Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan has secured a debate for Members Business on the next National Gaelic Language Plan, which will run from 2023 to 2028.

The debate is scheduled for 23 June and will discuss Allan’s motion on the Gaelic language which received cross-party support.

This comes after a UHI study of the strength of the Gaelic language in island communities which concluded that social use and transmission of the language was nearing collapse.

Consultation has started on the fourth National Gaelic Language Plan, prepared by Bòrd na Gàidhlig on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. The plan represents the principal vehicle for detailing public strategy and policy for the promotion of the language.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:m“The next parliamentary term will be important in securing the status and vitality of the Gaelic language. The SNP outlined the most ambitious commitments for Gaelic in the history of the Scottish Parliament in our 2021 election manifesto.

“Amongst these, the Scottish Government will introduce a Scottish Languages Bill to further support Gaelic, and also legislate on the Scots language for the first time.

“We are now 15 years on from the Gaelic Act and it is right to take stock of the situation. The public policy landscape has changed a lot in that time. Gaelic education continues to expand apace, and the National Islands Plan and extensive community buyouts is growing local empowerment in communities like Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

“But rural and island communities are also increasingly fragile. Housing shortages and connectivity problems continue to represent complex issues contributing to demographic decline. These challenges weaken the Gàidhealtachd.

“I hope this debate will contribute to a national reflection on the present and future prospects of the language.”