This is good news: if your name is Ciarán, Oisín, Sinéad or Siobhán or Seán; or if your Surname has the prefix Ó, Ní or Uí; or if you have a combination of these. This is a problem you have come across not once but many times. You try to book a ticket and this happens:
|Ó Riain is my Passport Family Name so, strictly speaking I am unable to complete this registration.|
This report of an investigation into allocation of so-called postal codes, found that the Department had indeed breached legislation in using English versions of place names in the Gaeltacht but because "there is no language legislation at present that ensures the State has an obligation to accept the choice of the citizen regarding his/ her name ... it wasn’t included as a statutory question for which findings had to be made as part of the investigation."
He later observed in an address to an Oireachtas Committee that he was disappointed to note that there is no protection, either in the Official Language Acts (2003) nár any other act that protects the use of the use of the name, surname or address in whichever official language the citizen chooses. (Address to Oireachtas Committee on Irish, Gaeltacht and Islands [Irish] - 4 Oct 2016).
However if there is no law in Irish domestic legislation to protect the integrity of one's name the GDPR legislation* passed by the European Union in 2016 (8 April 2016) and enacted earlier this year (25th May 2018) which does so provide. I learned about this from an article and video, ‘Tá sé de cheart agat fada a bheith i d’ainm, faigh é!’ by the award winning Film producer Ciarán Ó Cofaigh (Cré na Cille, Murdair Mhám Trasna, Na Cloigne agus eile!) in the on-line news service tuairisc.ie.
The GDPR legislation "..lays down rules relating to the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and rules relating to the free movement of personal data..." (Article 1) but the regulation we are concerned with is Article 6 (Rectification) which baldly states:
|"The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller without undue delay the rectification of inaccurate personal data concerning him or her. Taking into account the purposes of the processing, the data subject shall have the right to have incomplete personal data completed, including by means of providing a supplementary statement."|
The real punch line in Ó Cofaigh's article comes near the end. Basically he says if more than one request of this nature is received by an entity - and this refers to all entities not just state owned companies or departments - fines of up to €10 million are allowed for.
He urges those who have this problem should make a request not on the basis of human rights (language rights) but under the the GDPR Legislation (Art 16).
He concludes, “Faigh do fhada ar ais, is libhse é agus tá sé de cheart agaibh é a bheith agaibh!” (Get your fada back, it is yours and you have a rigt to it!)
* The text of the GDPR regulations may be found here in English. (It is also available in 24 other European Languages, including our own)
¨You may also like to consider just how important a fada can be. Remember tha Sean means old whereas Seán ia a male name.