It is unfortunate that the WHFP’s editorial (11/7/20) response to Soillse’s important research (Gaelic Crisis) seems to focus on dividing further the already scarce resources available to Gaelic by questioning whether the new Gaelic Immersion course at the The University of Glasgow should be funded.
The University of Glasgow has an excellent relationship with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and many of Glasgow’s students enrol, and will continue, to enrol at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for their immersion experience.
Glasgow’s Immersion Course will enable those who would otherwise be unable to move from the Central Belt for a year (family, work, schooling reasons) to have an immersion experience and become fluent in Gaelic.
The University of Glasgow are proud to be working with Ceòlas Uibhist to give students on the course an immersive community experience in South Uist and we will continue to work with other “traditional” communities to support and strengthen Gaelic in those areas.
Soillse’s research is a clear reflection of the perilous state of Gaelic as a community language in the Hebrides and the recommendations within the report are worthy of consideration for strengthening Gaelic in those very communities.
However, what we must not do is seek to divide Gaelic communities in crude Urban versus Rural and Native versus Learner communities.
The report authors do not do this in the book and nor should the West Highland Free Press.
The University of Glasgow has a long and distinguished history in supporting and strengthening Gaelic and the Immersion Course is an exciting development.
That should be celebrated for Gaelic as a whole and not used as a way of dividing the Gaelic community – manufactured division in the Gaelic community will not be to the benefit of any Gaelic communities.
Gillebrìde Mac ’IlleMhaoil
Head of Subject
Celtic and Gaelic
School of Humanities
The University of Glasgow