New Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has hailed Gaelic as “an enormously important part of Scottish cultural life” during a visit to the Royal National Mod in Paisley.
However, he said the language had to be “nurtured and cherished” if its use was to continue to grow.
Mr Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, was born on the Hebridean island of Islay. He made the remarks yesterday after he presented the winners of the prestigious Silver Pendant with their medals at the Mod, which is being held in Paisley for the first time. He was visiting the Renfrewshire town the day after the Princess Royal attended the second of two children’s competition days.
Mr Carmichael said: “It was an enormous honour to have been invited by An Comunn Gaidhealach [the Mod’s governing body] to present the silver medal.
“Gaelic remains an enormously important part of Scottish cultural life, which requires to be nurtured and cherished. It’s pleasing to see its growth, especially through Gaelic medium education. It should not be forgotten that for many years it was An Comunn Gaidhealach and the local and national Mods that shouldered the burden of keeping the flame alive when not many other people were interested.
“Today the UK government continues to support Scottish culture as the extra £1 million of funding for BBC Alba announced during the spending round earlier this year shows.”
Mod president John MacLeod said: “We were delighted to welcome a UK government minister to the Royal National Mod.
“We have a good number of Islay competitors at this year’s Mod, which will please Alastair Carmichael on account of his island origins.”
Attendance is expected to be much higher in the town than in normal Mod locations due to Paisley’s close proximity to Glasgow, a major stronghold for Gaelic speakers.
Oran Mor F.S. Cameron-Head Memorial Trophy (men) - 1. Robert Robertson, Fort William. 2. Andreas Wolff, A’ Choingeal. 3. (equal) John Howieson, Harrapool, and Ruaraidh Mac an t-Saoir, Uibhist a Deas.
Kennedy-Fraser Cup - 1. Janet H Campbell, Tobermory. 2. Alison Campbell, Erskine. 3. Karen MacRae, Portree.
Learners Katie Stewart Memorial Trophy (men) - 1. Lawrence Butler Perks, Aberdeen. 2. Alastair Gray, Caithness. 3. Pòl Younger, Glasgow.
4. Donald MacIver, Inbhir Nis.
Sea Song Bank of Scotland Cup - 1. Campbell McKenzie, Stornoway. 2. Lawrence Butler Perks, Aberdeen. 3. Alastair Gray, Caithness.
Traditional Moray Trophy (women) - 1. Joan Morrison, Newton Mearns. 2. Michelle MacNeil, Glaschu. 3. Eilidh Munro, East Dunbartonshire. 4. (equal) Hannah Knight, Eilean Leòdhais, and Iseabail Nic an t-Sagairt, Isle of Islay. Lochaber Rotary Club Trophy (men) - 1. Tormod MacLeòid, Eilean Leòdhais. 2. Neil Macritchie, Càrlabhagh. 3. Ruairidh MacCarmaig, Portree. 4. Calum Angus Macdonald, Lanarkshire.
Donald Murray Memorial Trophy - Joan Morrison, Newton Mearns.
Solos (Junior) - With Gaelic Songs: Glendale Quaich - 1. Ceitidh McLuskey, Ard-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig. 2. Tawana Maramba, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. 3. Eilidh Jenkins, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu.
Beginners Helmsdale Trophy - 1. Sandy MacGregor, Edinburgh. 2. Sonny Gibb Flexen, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. 3. Iona Spooner, Our Lady of the Missions.
Elementary Florence Wilson Trophy - 1. Abigail Cavanagh, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu. 2. Abigail Campbell, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. 3. Laura Penman, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce.
Intermediate 1 K. Barry Milner Trophy - 1. Anna Jean MacKenzie, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu. 2. Meredith Kiemer, Aberfoyle. 3. Joy Guse, Craigholme School.
Intermediate 2 Lawrence MacDuff Cup - 1. Ciorstaidh-Sarah Chaimbeul, An Caol. 2. Loxa Flexen, Broughton High School. 3. Sophie Joint, Douglas Academy.
Advanced Duncan Chisholm Trophy - 1. Màiri-Louise NicDhomhnaill, St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh. 2. Alice Guse, Craigholme School. 3. (equal) Finlay Cunniffe, Àrd-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig, and Sean Macpherson, Àrd-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig.
Elementary Jean C. Campbell Award - 1. Anne Stephen, Aberfoyle. 2. (equal) Sue Mackay, Dumbarton, and Catriona Gorgas, Glasgow. 4. Grace Gallaher, Glasgow.
Advanced Elspeth A. Hyllested Trophy - 1. Rachel Rutherford, Glasgow. 2. Grace Guse, Glasgow.
Original Composition Margaret Balfour Trophy - 1. Neil Wood, Eastwood High School. 2. Anna Westwell, Leith Walk Primary. 3. Sophie Joint, Douglas Academy.
Comunn na Clarsaich Cup (13-19) - 1. Finlay Cunniffe & Sean MacPherson, Ard-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig. 2. Catriona MacGregor & Anna MacKenzie, Edinburgh. 3. Anna Westwell & Sophie Darbyshire, Leith Walk Primary. Lord Birsay Trophy (under 13) - 1. Ceitidh McLuskey & Sheena McGregor, Ard-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig. 2. Calum McCabe & Finlay Lawson, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. 3. Laura Penman & Ceit Lamb, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce.
Senior Drumelzier Quaich - 1. Anne Stephen & Catriona Gorgas, Aberfoyle & Milngavie. 2. Rachel Rutherford & Grace Guse, Glasgow. 3. Grace Gallacher & Sue Mackay, Glasgow.
Voice and Clarsach Comunn na Clarsaich, Edinburgh Branch, Trophy - 1. Andrew Lyle & Blair Hendry, Bun-sgoil Innis an Uillt agus Bishopbriggs Academy. 2. Cliona McCabe & Tuesday Rose McDonagh, Ard-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbaig.
Open Pilgrim Harps Trophy 1. Buidheann Chlàrsaich Acadamaidh Dhùghlais.
In the ladies’ Oran Mor competition on Wednesday (A222) Sandaidh NicDhòmhnaill Jones, Uibhist a Deas, was 3rd equal with Eilidh Munro, East Dunbartonshire.