“Incredible lack of respect” as all Unionist Parties and Unionist Independents refuse to respond to Irish language commitments
Conradh na Gaeilge has launched it’s #Gaelvóta campaign in Belfast today ahead of Thursday’s Assembly Elections. Conradh na Gaeilge contacted all political parties and independent candidates in the north several times in April.
As part of the #Gaelvóta campaign election commitments were sought on the following 5 issues:
- The implementation of Irish language Legislation
- The adoption and implementation of the Irish Language 20 Year Strategy
- The development of an Irish Medium Education Bill through the Assembly
- New support for languages to be a core GCSE subject in secondary schools
- Priorities Education and Communities in any possible d’Hondt picks
6 Parties signed up to the majority of the #Gaelvóta commitments: Aontú, Alliance, Green Party, SDLP, Sinn Féin and PBP, alongside several independent candidates.
As of 3 May 2022, Conradh na Gaeilge had not received a single response from any of the Unionist Parties (DUP, UUP, TUV), nor from any of the independent unionist candidates.
Speaking after today’s launch, Michaeline Donnelly, Tanáiste of Conradh na Gaeilge, commented:
As we have seen since the incredible community campaign for language rights kickstarted in 2017, there is strong broad party support for the Irish language, Irish language rights and for Irish medium education. In the 2017 Assembly elections, that support translated into 5 parties and 50 out of the 90 MLAs who actively supported the introduction of an Irish language Act. That cross-party coalition in favour of language rights has stayed the course and remains steadfast and strong in the run up to the 2022 Assembly elections. The #Gaelvóta campaign seeks to provide voters with the latest facts and figures regarding parties, candidates and their pledges or stance on the Irish language. We will be sharing the responses we have received, broken down by party and also by constituency, with the community and online throughout the week.
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge, added:
The 2022 #Gaelvóta really is a story of two tales. On one hand we see a progressive, strong coalition of parties who have signed up to supporting the Irish language through legislation, through a strategy and through increased education provisions. And on the other hand, we have all Unionist parties and all other Unionist independent candidates refusing to respond to our election pledges. That is incredibly disappointing. We offered all of those parties an opportunity to meet with the Irish language community to discuss these issues. Again, our correspondence was met with silence. That shows an incredible lack of respect to Irish speaking families, learners and Irish language schools that exist and are flourishing right across the community. To those parties who have signed up to the #Gaelvóta Irish language commitments, we thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to meeting you in the coming weeks to discuss making those commitments an immediate reality.
All of the #Gaelvóta responses, alongside the Party responses, and broken down by constituency, can be accessed in full here: https://cnag.ie/en/campaigns/ongoing-campaigns/gaelv%C3%B3ta-ae22.html
Picture: Cuisle Nic Liam, Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Julian de Spáinn and Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh in Belfast today at the launch of the #Gaelvóta #ae22 campaign.