Minister makes history with EU speech in Gaelic

SCOTTISH education secretary Michael Russell has claimed a place in history as the first person to address an EU meeting in Scots Gaelic.

Mr Russell delivered his speech at a meeting of ministers from all member states discussing education, youth and culture, yesterday.

Interpretation was provided for his colleagues as he spoke about youth policies in Gaelic before reverting to English.

Mr Russell said it was a great honour to be the first minister to deliver a speech in Gaelic.

He said: "The Scottish Government is committed to a sustainable future for the Gaelic language. I can think of no better way to promote the language within Europe than at a Council meeting which, by definition, encourages and promotes multilingualism."

A Memorandum of Understanding signed last year established the technical arrangements to allow Scottish Gaelic to be used within EU institutions.

However, interpretation will only be provided from Scots Gaelic into English, and not from English into Scots Gaelic – and the cost of providing interpretation and translation must be borne by the devolved Scottish administration.