Sunday 25 March 2018

Names changed from Irish to English by Eircode

Rónán Ó Domhnaill: serious questions arise. Photo: Maxwells
Rónán Ó Domhnaill: serious questions arise. Photo: Maxwells
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

The Department of Communications has been rapped by the Irish language commissioner for translating names and addresses from Irish into English during the roll-out of the controversial Eircodes.

An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, said this single issue attracted the highest ever volume of complaints since the establishment of his office more than a decade ago.

The commissioner's office received 755 complaints last year, more than 70 of which related to Eircode.

Dozens of people complained that their names, surnames and addresses were translated to English versions - despite the fact that they generally used only Irish versions.

Mr Ó Domhnaill held that the department contravened a statutory obligation regarding Gaeltacht placenames, when Eircodes were sent to Gaeltacht householders with the addresses in English.

He said: "Having one's identity recognised in one's official language of choice is a fundamental right."

He added that his office received a "substantial" number of complaints in relation to people's difficulty in using their name and address in Irish with various state organisations.

This points to a "glaring need" to amend legislation in order to protect the use of a person's name and address in the country's first official language. However, Mr Ó Domhnaill said this loophole in the legislation meant he was unable to satisfactorily resolve the Eircode complaints.

The annual report of An Coimisinéir Teanga will be published today. Another issue highlighted was the "very low number of posts with an Irish language requirement that are being identified by government departments". Mr Ó Domhnaill said serious questions arise as to the State's willingness to provide services of the same standard in both languages.

Irish Independent

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