Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005

Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005

Long title An Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish a body having functions exercisable with a view to securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language, including the functions of preparing a national Gaelic language plan, of requiring certain public authorities to prepare and publish Gaelic language plans in connection with the exercise of their functions and to maintain and implement such plans, and of issuing guidance in relation to Gaelic education.
Citation 2005 asp 7
Territorial extent Scotland
Royal assent 1 June 2005
Commencement 13 February 2006[1]
Status: Current legislation

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 (Scottish Gaelic: Achd na Gàidhlig (Alba) 2005) passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2005 is the first piece of legislation to give formal recognition to the Scottish Gaelic language.

The Gaelic Language Act aims to secure Gaelic as an official language of Scotland, "commanding equal respect" with English, by establishing Bòrd na Gàidhlig as part of the framework of government in Scotland and also requiring the creation of a national plan for Gaelic to provide strategic direction for the development of the Gaelic language. [Note: The phrase 'equal respect' contains no clear meaning in the law. Its usage was chosen to prevent the assumption that the Gaelic language is in any way considered to have "equal validity or parity of esteem with English".][2]

The Act also gives Bòrd na Gàidhlig a key role in promoting Gaelic in Scotland, advising Scottish Ministers on Gaelic issues, driving forward Gaelic planning and preparing guidance on Gaelic education. The Act also provides a framework for the creation of Gaelic language plans by Scottish public authorities.

Former Education Minister Peter Peacock, who, at the time of the Act coming into force, had ministerial responsibility for Gaelic, said: "This is a momentous day for Gaelic as we open a new chapter in the language's history. We have come a long way since the dark days of 1616 when an Act of Parliament ruled that Gaelic should be 'abolishit and removit' from Scotland."[3]

A key limitation of the act is that it applies only to public bodies operating in Scotland and whose business is classed as being a devolved matter (outlined by the Scotland Act 1998).[4]

The National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17

"The Plan includes proposals for the promotion of strategies for increasing the number able to speak Gaelic, encouraging its use and facilitating access to Gaelic language and culture." The Plan addresses the following:[5]

See also


  1. Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 Commencement Order 2006, art. 2
  2. McLeod, Wilson. "Gaelic in contemporary Scotland: contradictions, challenges and strategies". University of Edinburgh: 7.
  3. "Official Report". Scottish Parliament. 2 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  4. "Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 (s.10)". Office of Public Sector Information. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  5. "National Gaelic Language Plan".

External links

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