ISLANDS COUNCIL GO ALL GAELIC; Meetings to be held in language.
COUNCIL bosses have decided all their committee meetings will be conducted in Gaelic.
Eighteen of the 31 councillors on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) are fluent Gaelic speakers.
Now the council, set up in 1976, have decided that all their committees will conduct business in Gaelic.
Previously, only a few committees used the native tongue.
A full simultaneous English translation service will be available for all non-Gaelic speakers.
Convener Alex MacDonald said the decision sent a strong signal over the revival of the language, which has just 58,000 speakers left.
He said: "I am delighted my colleagues have decided to use Gaelic at all committees. This shows the commitment of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to the revitalisation of Gaelic in the Western Isles.
"It is particularly commendable that chairpersons who are not fluent Gaelic speakers have decided to take committee debates in Gaelic.
"This is a first for any council in Scotland and I am proud that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have taken this historic step.
"It will build on all the other positive initiatives which the Comhairle have taken over the years on behalf of the Gaelic language."