GAELIC lessons for every child – an activist is taking his fight for language rights to voters in an island by-election.

Martainn Mac a’Bhaillidh helped drive the creation of the free Gaelic Duolingo course, which has attracted more than 170,000 learners since its St Andrew’s Day launch.

Now the architect – a key member of “radical” Gaelic campaign group Misneachd – is to stand for election on a land-and-language ticket.

The group’s candidate is to run against SNP, Green, Tory, LibDem and independent rivals in the Skye contest next month.

The March 12 vote for the four-member ward was triggered by the resignation of independent councillor Ronald MacDonald.

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Launching his campaign, Mac a’Bhaillidh announced policies covering a land value tax with a link to land use, targeted at the wealthiest in the Highlands, new controls for holiday homes, tourism and rent and a right to Gaelic medium education for every child aged three to 18.

Last month Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced plans to make Gaelic-medium education the default choice for all new primary one pupils, allowing families the choice to opt-out and choose English instead.

Mac a’Bhaillidh told The National that change should also apply to Skye and the rest of the Highlands.

Now he says he’ll also push for six months’ worth of full-time Gaelic education in “islands-based immersion centres” if he’s elected. Mac a’Bhaillidh says that should be supported by paid leave for those in-work.

Meanwhile, he wants to see jobs related to Gaelic “relocated to areas in which Gaelic is spoken in the community and where these jobs will do most to protect these communities”.

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He stated: “The policies we have just now relating to Gaelic are far too weak, even compared to other parts of the UK, and Gaelic will not survive as a living habitual language if we don’t do something right now to preserve it.

“There isn’t enough being done for rural areas that need a sustainable, diverse economy. Gaelic is not just a cultural issue, but one which relates to everything else in rural areas where it is spoken, to housing, jobs, tourism and to the environment.”

Other candidates include Andrew Kiss of the SNP, Dawn Kroonstuiver Campbell of the Scottish Greens, independent Calum Munro, Tory hopeful Ruraidh Cameron Stewart and Fay Thomson of the LibDems.

The number of Gaelic Duolingo users is almost three times higher than the 57,600 Gaelic speakers identified in the most recent census.