IRISH language campaigners have called on the new Stormont Executive to finally implement long overdue legislation.

Irish language legislation was approved at Westminster in December 2022 but there has been no progress in terms of its implementation. The legislation allows for the creation of two commissioners for the Irish Language and Ulster Scots and an Office of Identity and Cultural Expression. 

It would mean that Irish would have an official status in the North for the first time.

Following the restoration of the Stormont Executive at the weekend, Irish language campaigners have called on progress "without further delay".

DUP MLA Gordon Lyons was named Communities Minister with colleague Paul Givan taking up the position of Education Minister – two key departments for the Irish language.

Dr Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh from Conradh na Gaeilge, said: "As we enter a decisive moment for the Irish language in the north, the Assembly and Executive returns against the backdrop of new language legislation in Westminster and the legitimate expectation of the Irish language community is to see that Act implemented in full without any further delay.

"We therefore call on Executive Ministers, especially on the First and Deputy First Ministers, to set out a timetable for the appointment of the Irish Language Commissioner, and we have written to them on that issue seeking a meeting.

"Of course, we will be pressing hard on the DUP Ministers in Communities and Education to address fairly outstanding issues in their respective departments, including  language funding, and the Irish Language Strategy, which was blocked from the Executive Agenda 26 times by unionist ministers during the last mandate.

"There is also a long list of Irish Medium Education issues, including accommodation, Special Educational Needs and an IME Bill which we hope to progress with Minister Givan going forward.

"Our painful experiences with the DUP in the past, however, gives us many reasons for concern, but we expect going forward, to ensure equality and parity of esteem for the Irish language being realised in full during the coming mandate."

An Dream Dearg, another prominent Irish language campaign group says the Irish language community have waited "too long".

"An historic day, but for pobal na Gaeilge an opportunity missed and déjà vu with DUP once again leading Education and Community," the statement said.

"We have been here before and have the bruises to show.

"Allocation of ministries was compounded by zero mention of Acht na Gaeilge. We hope that commitments to appoint Commissioner and implement language legislation are at the top of the ‘to do list’ for the First Minister. We have waited too long.

"Dream Dearg won’t be found wanting. Irish speakers pushed Acht Anois from the political margins to the very centre of our politics through mobilisation and will do so again until our rights fully implemented."