Summit on future of Gaelic as a community language

Kate Forbes is MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP and Scottish finance secretary

The Skye leg of a series of community conversations on the future of Gaelic as a community language will take place next week. 

The summit on Tuesday 1st December, 7pm, will be co-chaired by Kate Forbes, constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch. She will be joined by Skye councillor Calum Munro, chair of Highland Council’s Gaelic committee, and former Highland Council leader and fellow Gaelic advocate, Dr Michael Foxley.

Michael Foxley, chair of the further education regional board for the Highlands and Islands (Lochaber)

The online event is open to anyone with a keen interest in the language and participants can register by emailing

Earlier this year a major study into the use of Gaelic in island communities concluded that the language will fall into obsolescence unless significant changes are made in approach and strategy.

A series of forums have been organised by Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, and it is hoped that these discussions will determine appropriate next steps to safeguard the language’s future.

Ms Forbes said: “Part of the research was done in Staffin and so it seems only right to speak to people in Staffin about the fragility of Gaelic. There are still plenty of people in Skye and Raasay with Gaelic, and it can still be heard throughout the island.

“Urgent work is required to save Gaelic, but as a living language it won’t be politicians, bureaucracy or tokenistic gestures that make the difference. Ultimately, it will be those people for whom it is the language of daily life that can reverse the decline.

“I hope this summit will be a fruitful exercise in doing that.”

Councillor Munro said: “It’s extremely important that Gaelic communities in Skye and Raasay have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The recent research by Soillse clearly sets out the challenges facing Gaelic in terms of usage and transmission.

“Now is the time to consult with communities and to set the agenda for language policy and planning efforts. This online meeting is the first important step in taking this agenda forward.”

As well as the community meetings, there is also the option to submit written evidence.