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Hebrides News


The funeral has taken place of former Gaelic broadcaster Seonaidh Ailig Macpherson who was played an instrumental role in the development of modern Gaelic broadcasting.

The native Gaelic speaker also chaired a government taskforce looking at the future public funding of Gaelic which issued a report in 2000 titled the Revitalising Gaelic a National Asset.

The MacPherson Report as it became known laid down the groundwork for the present day Bòrd Na Gaidhlig and was followed by the Gaelic Language Act.

The report also urged the government to try harder to recruit more teachers to capitalise on the success of

Seonaidh Ailig died aged 79 years in hospital on Cape Breton Island, Canada, where he spent much of his adult life.

His funeral service was held at St. Columba Presbyterian Church in his home community of Marion Bridge near Sydney on Saturday.

Born in 1937, Seonaidh Ailig was brought up in Leverburgh and Goular, North Uist.

After graduating from Edinburgh University he went into teaching with a five year stint in Bayhead, Uist, before he moved to the Gaelic department of the BBC.

There he gave another islander - comedian and entertainer Norman Maclean who died on the same day - his big break into broadcasting.

Aged 23 years he was crowned Bàrd of An Comunn Gàidhealach at the National Mòd in Stirling.

In the early 1970s a transatlantic career move saw him take up a post with the Atomic Energy of Canada for two decades.

He returned to Scotland in 1997, taking up the role of assistant director with the revamped Comataidh Craolaidh Gàidhlig in Stornoway, the then funding body for Gaelic TV and radio programmes.

Eight years on, he and his wife Eiilidh, who hails from Cape Breton, went back to Canada where he continued being involved in Gaelic activities.

He was president of the Atlantic Gaelic Academy which delivers internet Gaelic courses and director of St Anne’s Gaelic College.

Often he was called up on to translate and assist in numerous Gaelic publishing works, participated in Mira Gaelic Choir and taught Gaelic to at a community learners’ class.

Seonaidh Ailig is is survived by his wife Eilidh of Marion Bridge.

He is also survived by his children - Alan, Kirsty and Iain and two grandchildren who all stay in Toronto.


Funeral of Gaelic advocate and broadcaster

10 Sept 2017