Omissions Equate to Leaving Entire Population of Waterford City Out
Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on Minister White to take responsibility for rectifying 50,000+ missing or inaccurate names & addresses in Irish in new postcode system
Following Eircode director Liam Duggan’s admission that there are indeed addresses in Irish missing from the new postcode system at the Eircode launch last Monday (13 July 2015), and the subsequent revelations that some Gaeltacht residents are receiving Eircodes addressed to their personal names in English, Conradh na Gaeilge is calling again on the Minister of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources to urgently rectify these problems. The Irish-language advocacy organisation is also advising Irish-speakers affected by the inaccuracies and gaps in the Irish version of the Eircode database to notify the Office of the Language Commissioner about this.
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Minister of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources to recognise and fulfil his department’s responsibility to the Irish language as a matter of priority. The new postcode system is a communications project for the people of this state, and as a state department in its own right, the Department of Communications has the responsibility to act to correct the 50,000 inaccuracies or omissions in the Eircode system. This deficiency in the database is the equivalent of leaving the entire population of Waterford City out of the Eircode system, and frankly it’s completely unacceptable.”
While Minister for Communications, Alex White TD, insisted at the Eircode launch that no addresses have been excluded from the €27 million Irish postcode system, Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the admission by the director of Eircode that there are indeed addresses in Irish missing from the postcode system. Conradh na Gaeilge disagrees with Liam Duggan, however, in his assertion that it is a matter for the Department of Arts, Culture, & the Gaeltacht.
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“While Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the admission of Liam Duggan that there are holes in the postcode system in regards to addresses in Irish, we disagree with his opinion that the Department of the Gaeltacht is responsible for this. There is no way that the Department of the Gaeltacht could, or should, be made responsible for including the Irish language in all new Government-initiated services for the public, such as Eircode. The Government has a collective responsibility to support and promote Irish, and to ensure that those who wish to use the language can do so.
Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Communications Minister to acknowledge his department’s own responsibility to the Irish language and to agree to implement the proposed plan* to address the 50,000 missing or inaccurate addresses in Irish in new postcode system for which his Department is accountable.
De Spáinn notes:
“The plan proposed by a working group of relevant stakeholders to address the missing information and inaccuracies in the Irish-language version of the Eircode database is not part of the work programme of any other group; if ignored, the 50,000 missing or inaccurate addresses will remain in this state-sponsored system.”
NOTE FOR THE EDITOR:
Conradh na Gaeilge welcomed the decision in 2007 to develop a new postcode system in the south, and took a proactive role in the discussions from the get-go in an effort to ensure that the Irish language would be accurate in the new system, and that the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community would not be adversely affected by its introduction. The Conradh is pleased that the postcodes will themselves be language neutral and that Capita Ireland – the private company appointed by the Government to develop the Eircode – will be using bilingual promotional materials.
* As early as 2014, however, it came to light that there were thousands of instances of missing information and a substantial number of the inaccurate placenames in the Irish version of the database that the Eircode system would be using. A working group of relevant stakeholders – listed below – sent a plan to rectify the issue (over the course of two years) to the Department of Communications in March 2015; the Department is currently refusing to fund the plan, despite having representation on the working group in question.
The working group of relevant stakeholders for Capita Ireland’s new system of postcodes included The Department of Communications; Foras na Gaeilge; Logainm.ie; The Placenames Committee; and Conradh na Gaeilge. Geodirectory was involved from 24 April 2015 onwards.