Gaels heading to the Royal National Mod in Paisley on Friday have reason to be in high spirits.
The recent results of the 2011 census showed the haemorrhaging of Gaelic speakers has been all but stemmed.
There was still a loss. There were around 58,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland in 2011 compared to around 59,000 in 2001. But that was nothing compared to earlier results.
Some 16,662 Gaels had been lost between 1981 and 1991. There was despair. Serious money had begun to be spent trying to revitalise the language but the older Gaels were dying off far quicker than they could be replaced by children and adult learners. It was if the entire populations of Skye, Mull and Islay had just disappeared.
The decline was cut by more than half in the next census. So Gaelic agencies began to talk about arresting the decline as a target for 2011. They almost hit it. Analysis showed this was largely due to the growth in numbers in Gaelic-medium pre-school groups and primary schools.
Had there not been this improvement, it would have delivered a huge psychological blow to the Gaelic movement.
It also would have provided ammunition for those who persistently question expenditure on Gaelic, not least on Gaelic education. They apparently have no interest in expenditure on any other part of the curriculum. Only Gaelic is scrutinised as an educational frill.
However the four main political parties in Scotland can all claim credit for having backed Gaelic financially over the past three decades. Indeed, there is not an MSP or Scottish MP who would publicly attack Gaelic funding of around £25m a year, which includes education, development and broadcasting, as a profligate indulgence.
Survey evidence shows that the Scottish people agree saving Gaelic is important.
Of course, there is always the odd councillor or columnist desperate to have a go, and some have been at it again recently.
But Gaelic has long enjoyed cross-party support in Scotland and, indeed, across denominations. It was something Mary Robinson recognised during her visit in 1997, shortly before she stepped down as Irish president. She had come to Iona to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Columba.
She said Ireland could learn from Scotland that, whereas Gaelic had never become the preserve of one religion or one political movement in Scotland, its linguistic first cousin to the west had long been identified with Catholicism and nationalism.
But for all the relief at the census results, a huge struggle to sustain Gaelic still lies ahead.The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 effectively charged Bòrd na Gàidhlig with securing the language.
The main aim of that body's National Gaelic Language Plan until 2017 is to increase by 100% the number of pupils entering the first year of Gaelic-medium primary schools from 400 to 800. However, it rose by only 28, or just 6%, between 2012/2013. So there is a bit to go.
But first there is Paisley.
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