Bhuel, correct me if my information is outdated, but I have information
that has many thousands more native Irish speakers than native Scots
speakers. Of course, you may be speaking of the nature of the intensity
of the resurgence (or lack of) of each language. Then one might be able
to say that Scots Gaelic does seem to have more enthusiasm behind it.
There does not seem to be as much interest in the Irish language as when
the Irish state was first born. (I heard from someone that Irish is no
longer mandatory in Irish schools! Is that true??) On the other hand, the
resurgence of Scottish nationalist feelings has awoken new interest in the
traditional culture and language, especially in the many young Scots I
Of course, this topic can be very subjective and depend on your point of
view, but what I do know is that the raw numbers of native Irish speakers=
is higher than the native Scots speakers.
The best research on the subject, conducted by following cohorts
of native speakers over a long number of years, appears in the book
"Death of the Irish Language" by Reg Hindley. His ultimate conclusion
was that the realistic number for the whole of Ireland is about 8,000
(yes eight thousand). That is people fluent in the language, living in
speech communities where there is a realistic possibility (no more)
that the language will be acquired by the succeeding generation.
The estimate for Scotland (given in Derick Thomson's "Gaelic Scotland")
is 60,000. Of which 20,000 are the Hebrides, 20,000 in the Highland Region
and 20,000 in the industrial Central Belt of Glasgow-Edinburgh.
Speech communities really exist only in the Hebrides but even these far
outweigh the Irish numbers.