A LEADING Irish language organisation has given short shrift to a reference made to outstanding language legislation in today's Queen's speech. 

Conradh na Gaeilge has reacted with caution to mention of promises made in the New Decade New Approach agreement. The group said it has "no reason to trust the British Government" until a "specific date" for implementing language rights is given. 

In June 2021, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis MP made a commitment to legislate legislate for the Irish language at Westminster by October 2021. He made a further commitment to the end of the most recent mandate in March. All deadlines passed without delivery.

Speaking today, Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said: "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 un-moveable 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."