Tuesday, 24 April 2018 05:52


The Scottish Tories have been accused of “breathtaking hypocrisy” in a debate on a National Plan for Gaelic at Holyrood this afternoon.

Tory MSP Liz Smith tabled an amendment calling for priority to be given to Gaelic medium education, specifically that “sufficient numbers of Gaelic-speaking and Gaelic-qualified teachers are available to meet the demand”. However, the Tory government’s own immigration policies are hindering recruitment in the sector.
Sine Halfpenny, a Gaelic teacher from Nova Scotia and the only candidate for a recent vacancy at Bunessan School on the Isle of Mull, was denied a visa to live and work in Scotland. Tory immigration ministers dismissed calls from Education Secretary John Swinney and local MSP Michael Russell for Ms Halfpenny to be granted the right to work as a Gaelic teacher in Scotland.
The hypocrisy was highlighted in this afternoon’s debate by SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine. 
Commenting, Joan McAlpine said:
“This is breathtaking hypocrisy from the Tories, who lack self-awareness as much as they lack good sense over the issue of immigration.
“They have some brass neck demanding more Gaelic teachers in Scottish schools while their own government’s mindless policies are preventing qualified professionals from coming to work here.
“In the case of Sine Halfpenny, the parents at Bunessan School worked hard to establish a Gaelic unit – only to have a Tory Minister slam the door in the face of the best candidate for the job.
“We hope the Scottish Tories, in backing our ambitions for the Gaelic language, will get on board with the campaign to grant Sine a visa work in Scotland. 
“On the wider point, this case demonstrates – if further evidence were needed – exactly why Scotland needs full powers over immigration, so that we can build a system that works in Scotland’s interests, not against them.”
Gaelic-speaking Canadian teacher loses Mull job as Home Office says ‘no shortage exists’
Sine Halfpenny was the only applicant to apply for the post at Bunessan Primary which is still unfilled

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