The Comhairle sought the views and comments of the communities of the Western Isles regarding the aims and objectives contained in this Draft Plan. These views and comments were fully considered before the final draft version of the Plan was produced shortly after the end of the six-week consultation period.
All comments were submitted in writing, either by letter or e-mail, within the six-week period, to Sgioba na Gàidhlig at the Comhairle.
Results and Feedback
The Comhairle received 14 written responses in total. Responses were received from members of the public across the Isles, public organisations, educational bodies, community volunteer groups, and Gaelic organisations. The Draft was welcomed warmly as a positive development in terms of developing the use and learning of Gaelic in the Isles, and addressing the concerns of communities in this regard. For example, respondents wrote the following, which were typical of the type of response that was received regarding the draft Plan:
“The draft reads well and covers all the main points we would expect to see in relation to the promotion and development of Gaelic.”
“Tha dealasan lèirsinneach a’ nochdadh sa phlana" (“Some visionary commitments appear in this plan.”)
“Tha sreath de fìor dheagh gnìomhan anns a’ Phlana.” (“There are a series of very good action points in the Plan.”)
Gaelic in Education
“Tha mi a’ moladh an [sic] Comhairle airson an obair a tha iad a’ dèanamh ann am foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig. Air sgàth sin, tha a’ chlann agam comasach Gàidhlig a thuigsinn, a’ leughadh ’s a sgrìobhadh.”
(“I commend the Comhairle for the work they are doing in Gaelic medium education. Because of that, my children are able to understand, read and write Gaelic.”)
“This plan sets out a very useful précis of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) approach, particularly in the Education and language corpus areas.”
“’S e deagh amas a th’ ann a bhith a’ feuchainn ris an àireamh de chlann FtG àrdachadh air 10% gach bliadhna ann an sgìre Steòrnabhaigh.”
(“It is a commendable target to attempt to increase the number of children in Gaelic medium education in the Stornoway area by 10% each year.”)
“Tha sinne a’ toirt aithne don adhartas mhòr a tha a’ Chomhairle air a dhèanamh thairis air na bliadhnaichean agus gu sònraichte bho chionn ghoirid ceangailte ri foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig.”
(“We recognise the huge progress that the Comhairle has made over the years, and especially recently, in relation to Gaelic medium education.”)
Gaelic Usage and Development
“Tha mi toilichte a’ leughadh gum bi a’ Chomhairle a dol a chleachdadh baidsean gus sealltainn cò aige a tha Gàidhlig am measg nan luchd-obrach”
(“I am pleased to read that the Comhairle are going to use badges to show whom amongst the staff have Gaelic skills”)
“I think the Comhairle does a good job promoting a visual and professional image for Gaelic. I am proud of the fact that Council meetings are held in Gaelic.”
“Good to see the five initiatives listed in the Gaelic economic development section which we are totally supportive of.”
Nevertheless, it was also felt that there were areas where the development of the use and learning of Gaelic could be improved. The three most common areas were as follows:
- Financing the Plan
A number of respondents felt that, although budgetary realities must inevitably impact on Gaelic development to at least some extent, it was unhelpful and unnecessary to add this caveat in the introductory section of the draft Plan:
“Tha [sinne] a’ moladh cur às dhan earrainn seo, leis gu bheil e a’ ciallachadh gum faod buidseat na Gàidhlig a gheàrradh aig àm sam bith rè beatha a’ Phlana.”
(“[We] suggest you remove this passage, because it means that the Gaelic budget could be cut at any time during the Plan.”)
“Dh’ fhaodadh [an earrann seo] a’ ciallachadh gun tigeadh buidseat na Gàidhlig a gheàrradh ann an coinneamh ionmhais […] an dèis dhan phlana seo a dol a-mach gu co-chomhairleachaidh.”
(“[This passage] could mean that the Gaelic budget could be cut at any finance meeting […] after the plan has gone out to consultation.”)
- Gaelic on the Website and in Social Media
There was a widely-expressed view that the development of Gaelic usage on the Comhairle’s website was a priority area. Although the draft Plan was praised for identifying this as a key priority, it was felt by some that the draft Plan should go further in terms of committing to developing the website:
Bu chòir […] an làrach-lìn, na meadhannan sòisealta agus a leithid a bhith gu tur dà-chànanach.”
(The website, social media, etc. should […] be totally bilingual”.)
“Chaidh mi gu duilleag-dachaigh làrach-lìn na Comhairle ach chan fhaca mi ceangal sam bith gu na duilleagan Gàidhlig.”
(“I went to the homepage of the Comhairle’s website but I did not see any link to the Gaelic pages.”)
- Gaelic in Recruitment
There was a widely-held view that, although the Comhairle had made a lot of progress in this area, it was necessary to expand the number of staff who had Gaelic skills, and create more “Gaelic-essential” and “Gaelic-desirable” posts:
“Bu chòir gum bi barrachd luchd-obrach [na Comhairle] ann aig a bheil sgilean sa Ghàidhlig mar sgil riatanach den obair aca.”
(“There ought to be more [Comhairle] staff who require Gaelic as an essential skill of their work.”)
“Bhiodh sinn an dùil, on is e seo an treas Plana Cànain Gàidhlig aig a’ Chomhairle, gum biodh a’ chuid is motha de na dreuchdan aig ìre far a bheil Gàidhlig ‘riatanach’.”
(“We would have expected, because this is the third Comhairle Gaelic Plan, that the majority of posts would be termed ‘Gaelic essential’”.)
Financing the Plan
We removed the section from the draft Plan relating to limited budgetary provision for Gaelic development, having agreed that this caveat was unnecessary, and could negatively impact on actions within the Plan.
Gaelic on the Website and in Social Media
- We decided to make a commitment to increase bilingual content throughout the website with regard to pages with most visits by users, e.g. bus timetables pages.
- We decided to create a prominent Gaelic tab on the Comhairle’s homepage leading to pages written in Gaelic, which would lead to other Gaelic pages, providing at least two levels of navigation for Gaelic.
- In response to the suggestion that the Comhairle website should be entirely bilingual, it was decided that this was not possible in terms of manpower, the News section on the homepage, alone, requiring to be constantly updated in bilingual format.
Gaelic in Recruitment
We decided to make a commitment to try to extend, subject to legal requirements, the range of Gaelic-desirable posts in the Comhairle.
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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar prepared a draft of its Gaelic Language Plan for 2018-2022, in terms of Sections 3 and 7 of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. This Draft Plan, for the third iteration of the Comhairle’s Gaelic Language Plan, was prepared having undertaken detailed reviews of the targets, outcomes and progress of the 2013-2017 Plan.
The Draft Plan, which was presented to Comataidh Buileachaidh Plana Cànain and received its full support, went out for a six-week period of public consultation, beginning on Tuesday 10th October, 2017, and finishing at 12.00pm Monday 20th November, 2017.
What Happens Next
We are asking for your views on the Comhairle’s Draft Gaelic Language Plan 2018-22. Your comments about the Draft Plan (available below) may be sent to:
Sgioba na Gàidhlig,
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,
by 12 Noon on Monday 20 November 2017.