“We have been here before many, many times” - Conradh na Gaeilge reacts with caution to reference to Irish language Act in Queen’s Speech
Conradh na Gaeilge has reacted with caution after a reference to the New Decade New Approach language legislation was made in today’s Queen’s Speech. This follows the June 2021 commitment from SOS Brandon Lewis MP to legislate for Irish at Westminster by October 2021, and again by the end of the most recent mandate in March. All deadlines passed without delivery.
Speaking today, Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, commented:
''We have been here before many, many times. The British Government originally gave the commitment to introduce an Irish language Act in the Saint Andrew's agreement in 2006. British Secretary of State Brandon Lewis gave a public commitment in June 2021 to bring in the Irish language legislation by October. That timeline was missed and pushed out to the end of the mandate. That deadline was also missed. Our painful experience on this issue is that commitments have been made in the past and have never been fulfilled. Naturally, therefore, we take today’s announcement with a huge degree of caution. We need a date for delivery. We need to see the legislation timetabled into the parliamentary diary. Until there is a specific date for implementing Irish language legislation we have no reason to trust the British Government when it comes to language rights. Now is the time for delivery”
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge, stated:
''Trust is hard earned and quickly lost. Given the events of the past 12 months, and indeed the past 16 years, the Irish language community will be naturally cynical and cautious when listening to the reference to Irish language legislation in the Queen’s Speech. We have had many formal promises in the past, including written guarantees in binding international treaties, namely the St Andrew’s Agreements, alongside specific timeline written into the New Decade New Approach Agreement. We know how this usually plays out. For our community to place any trust in this process we must see a clear and unmoveable date for delivery. In the meantime our community is organising and mobilising. On the 21st of May we expect thousands to convene in Béal Feirste in support of the Irish language Act campaign for rights and respect''.
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh
Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge
Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh
Communications Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge
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Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community. The Conradh has over 200 branches and numerous individual members registered around the world, members that work hard to promote the use of Irish in their own areas. Conradh na Gaeilge’s main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland. Conradh na Gaeilge was established by Douglas Hyde, Eoin Mac Néill, and their colleagues on the 31st of July 1893. The organisation runs Irish-language courses; advocates for the language rights of Irish-speakers; raises awareness about the language; hosts the international Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge; manages the Irish-language information hub PEIG.ie and the Irish-language bookshop An Siopa Leabhar; supports Raidió Rí-Rá; and much more. More information: www.cnag.ie