MSPs approve Gaelic bill

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Feb 2 14:30:04 UTC 2005

>>From BBC News,

MSPs approve Gaelic bill

A bill which would place Gaelic on an equal footing with English has
received unanimous support in the Scottish Parliament.  The Gaelic
Language (Scotland) Bill was brought forward by Scottish National Party
MSP Mike Russell. The bill's provisions currently only cover the
Highlands, the Western Isles, part of Argyll and Bute and the islands of
Arran, Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae.

It would force some public bodies to treat the two languages "on a basis
of equality".

'Keep it alive'

The proposals were debated at stage one by parliament on Thursday, with
MSPs asked to agree its general principles. MSPs gave their support but
the bill is unlikely to be able to complete its passage through parliament
before the 1 May elections. The Scottish Executive, which gave its
qualified support for the bill, said it would bring forward a similar bill
in the next parliamentary session if it was re-elected.

Mr Russell said "virtually the entire Gaelic community" wants the bill to
become law. He said that as many as 90% of the world's 6,000 languages
were in danger of extinction. "It will die unless we can do everything we
can this afternoon 'we' means each one of us in this chamber - to keep it

Culture Minister Mike Watson said it could work - but only with a number
of changes. He said: "We believe there are significant shortcomings of the
bill as it stands and these are reflected in the views of the committee.
"In view of their intentions to take further evidence on important aspects
of the bill before it proceeds further, I am pleased to signify that the
executive will support the motion."

The education committee has backed the bill. Committee convener Karen
Gillon said MSPs should back it despite a gap between its expectations and
what it could actually achieve. She said the committee was concerned there
was no estimate of the costs associated with implementing the legislation.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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