Conradh na Gaeilge has reacted to the news that the long overdue Irish language legislation promised in New Decade New Approach is to be introduced tomorrow (Wednesday 25 May 2022) at Westminster. The bill will create a new office for an Irish language commissioner who will develop best practice standards for public authorities, alongside repealing the 1737 Act of Justice (Ireland) legislation which banned Irish from courts.
Speaking today, Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, commented:
“The Irish language community has been fighting for these rights for decades and in that regard to see the Irish language be afforded official status here for the first time is indeed historic. We want to pay tribute to all of those activists and community pioneers who have been advocating for language rights down through the years. This day belongs to them. But let’s be clear, this is only the beginning of the legislative journey for this bill. Painful experience with the British Government has taught us to take nothing for granted. Until we see this Bill fully enacted and indeed implemented in practice, we will continue to push ahead with the campaign.”
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge, stated:
“On Saturday almost 20,000 attended the largest Irish language rally in our history. We told them then that we would win our campaign, and we are nearly there. We will have an Irish language act. That legislation will, however, fall short of the commitments given to us at St Andrew’s, especially when tested against the Welsh model. It remains, however, an historic advancement in our campaign for language rights and we welcome it as a significant staging post on our journey for equality here.
The British Government know themselves that much of this legislation is dependent on political will to allow it to function effectively. Given the DUP has reneged from their New Decade New Approach commitments to deliver this legislation, coupled with the fact that we have no First or Deputy First Ministers to press ahead with implementing the functions of the legislation, the British Government must immediately act to appoint a Commissioner who can develop the best practice standards. That is now the immediate litmus test for the British Government. Having legislation is one thing, acting on it is the real test. Without that immediate action this legislation won’t be worth the paper it is written on.
The Irish language revival that has been flourishing here for many decades has come from the bottom up, a movement that has been celebrated and recognised globally; with local communities choosing to live their lives through Irish and realising that local vision through founding their own schools and delivering transformational Irish language projects and services. Now is the time for the state to play their part.”
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