Funding drought sparks jobs cuts in Gaelic media

Jobs and training will have to be cut in the Gaelic Media Services because of a new standstill in funding announced by the Scottish Executive.

Now Scottish MP Brian Wilson, who was Labour’s first minister for Gaelic in 1997, has called on First Minister Jack McConnell to take personal control of the campaign to launch a Gaelic TV channel.

Funding for Gaelic TV programming will remain static for the next two years and will rise only marginally in the following two years.

The Gaelic TV Fund received £9.5m in 1992 and this has decreased to £8.5m.

Gaelic Media Service chairman Neil Fraser, a former head of BBC Radio Scotland, said: “The buck has been passed for too long between Government departments, to the detriment of the Gaelic community, and it is ironic that Gaelic broadcasting should have become an inadvertent victim rather than the beneficiary of devolution.”

Wilson added: “In 1997, I initiated a process that could and should have led to a Gaelic-led channel within five years. It is bitterly disappointing that we now seem further away from that objective than ever.”

By Hamish Mackay

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