Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has welcomed the announcement that Barra and Vatersay has been awarded the 2012 Gleus Award – and the new titleholder of Gaelic Community of the Year in the Highlands and Islands.

Mr MacNeil said:

“This is a fantastic achievement especially as the nominations are judged on the use of spoken Gaelic, particularly amongst young people.

“Barra and Vatersay should be very proud of this award which is a reflection on the hard work and cooperation which is ongoing within the community.  Many people volunteer a tremendous amount of their time and talent and this award recognises their commitment to keeping Gaelic alive for the next generation.

“Of course, Gaelic has many benefits for individual speakers with lots of academic research showing it benefits children in schools, in areas such as maths, amongst others.  Bilingualism is also said to delay the onset of senile dementia by about four years.

“The growth of the Islands Gaelic Medium unit has been a success over the years, as well as the introduction of the local mod.  Finally, Gaelic speakers I would say if you speak to a young child or baby, speak Gaelic to them.