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MSP delivers Holyrood address in Gaelic

Kate Forbes called for the language to be given Unesco status.

An MSP has called for Gaelic to be given Unesco status as she delivered an entire Holyrood speech in the language.

Kate Forbes, the member for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said she wanted to demonstrate Gaelic was a living language as MSPs used headsets to listen to a simultaneous translation.

She became just the second female MSP, and the first in the current Scottish Parliament chamber, to deliver a whole contribution in Gaelic during a plenary debate.

There have been a handful of Gaelic contributions in the parliament’s history, including a full speech from SNP stalwart Winnie Ewing in 2000 and, in more recent years, from current International Development and Europe Minister Alasdair Allan; and Ms Forbes’ predecessor in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat Dave Thompson.

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Gaelic Holyrood speech

Ms Forbes spoke as MSPs were considering a motion on Scotland’s support for the Unesco convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

Speaking afterwards, the SNP MSP said: “It was really important not only to talk about Gaelic, but to actually use the language in the Holyrood chamber, to demonstrate that it is one of Scotland’s most significant cultural assets.

“There is a lot of political support for the language, despite the inaccurate negativity about money spent on Gaelic and occasional politicising.

“Gaelic is the key to elements of our history, culture and music. That is why I believe it should be granted Unesco status as an intangible cultural heritage.

“It is a sad day for any society that forgets the rich cultural heritage of their past, and we need to protect Gaelic.”

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