Six parties signed up to a number of "key Irish language commitments" ahead of Thursday's Assembly Election. 

Conradh na Gaeilge launched it's #Gaelvóta campaign at An Chultúrlann in a bid to advance the demands of the Irish language community, including a commitment to the implementation of Irish language legislation.

Conradh na Gaeilge contacted all political parties and independent candidates in the North to seek commitments on five issues. Its request was ignored by all unionist parties, whilst Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance, Greens, People Before Profit and Aontú made a number of commitments ahead of polling.

Other demands include the adoption and implementation of the Irish Language 20 Year Strategy, the development of an Irish Medium Education Bill, support for languages to be a core GCSE subject in secondary schools, and a call to prioritise Education and Communities Ministries in any possible d’Hondt picks.

Speaking after the 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 five 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."

Of those standing in West Belfast, the DUP, TUV, UUP, Workers' Party and independent candidate Tony Mallon did not respond to Conradh na Gaeilge's campaign.

The IRSP, whose West Belfast candidate is an Irish speaker, did not commit but pledged to help the Irish language community. 

"We have no interest in keeping these institutions running," it said. "It is our main aim to use any seat we may win to help all members of the community who have been failed by the system, just like the Irish language community in this city.”

Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and Greens ruled out a commitment to prioritising the Communities and Education Ministries since Stormont Ministries are allocated and negotiated under the d'Hondt system. 

Similarly, People Before Profit ruled out a commitment on Ministries as the party says it is unlikely to be in a position to nominate any Executive Minsters.

Aontú, the SDLP and Independent Gerard Burns committed to all five of Conradh na Gaeilge's demands.