AN island community trust has created two jobs solely dedicated to supporting and developing the Gaelic language.

The Tiree Community Development Trust has worked on projects involving the development of Gaelic on the island for 17 years.

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The Isle of Tiree, part of the Inner Hebrides and with a population of around 650 people, is one of the few remaining native-speaking Gaelic communities in Scotland.

The number of Gaelic speakers in Tiree has more than halved in the past 40 years, to just 30% of the population.

The National: The island is one of the few remaining native-speaking Gaelic island communitiesThe island is one of the few remaining native-speaking Gaelic island communities

The new jobs, aimed at promoting the aspirations and immediate needs of the Gaelic language in Tiree, will see two people work on projects related to Gaelic on the island.

Mary Ann Kennedy, a Highland musician and broadcaster who has close ties to Tiree through her father, will work alongside Lauren MacArthur, a young Gaelic-speaking local islander, in the new posts.

MacArthur, who hails from Sandaig in the west of the island, said she wanted “to help make sure that my language has a place and a future in Tiree".

Kennedy said she hoped her father would be proud of her decision to “work in Tiree at a time when the language is in a very fragile state on the island”.

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She continued: “This is about the community. Our door is open and we really hope that folk will be up for talking to us and working with us to make things happen.”

The chair of the community trust and columnist at The National, Rhoda Meek, hailed the project as “vital”.

She said: “The community is the soul of the language.

“If we lose that, we reduce Gaelic to an intellectual exercise.

“Having Mary Ann and Lauren, who belong to that community, working on this vital project, I believe we stand a chance of making a real difference.”

More information about the Tiree Community Development Trust can be found here.