The Deputy First Minister has pledged to help increase the number of Gaelic speakers across Scotland in a speech at the Royal National Mod in the Western Isles.

John Swinney, who assumed ministerial responsibility for Gaelic earlier this year, also announced £700,000 of extra government funding for Glasgow's two Gaelic schools.

Giving the Angus Macleod Memorial lecture in Stornoway, he said good structures were now in place for Gaelic development and he wanted to make sure they were used effectively to help increase the number of people learning and speaking the language.

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He said: "Why is this important? The clear reason behind this activity is to ensure that the Gaelic language has a secure future in Scotland.

"As a long-serving minister in the Scottish Government, but one who has only recently assumed responsibility for the Gaelic language, I want to make clear to you my determination to work with all who have an interest in nurturing the language, with the structures and gains we have made, to pursue the aim of increasing the numbers learning, speaking and using Gaelic.

"That is the government's clear aim and priority, and we must use all the gains of the last decades to make further progress with this aim.

"The reason for this commitment is quite simple: Gaelic belongs in Scotland.

"It has been spoken in this country for well over 1,000 years and I believe this places a duty and a responsibility on us as custodians of this heritage."

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The money for the Glendale Gaelic School and Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu will go towards upgrades to help tackle an increasing demand for places.

Since the introduction of the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund in 2008, the number of young people in Gaelic medium education has increased nationally by 32%.