Friday, January 23, 2015

A letter to Father Christmas!

This is a very sad story!

A little girl spent much time and effort in composing a letter to Santa and writing the address on an envelope to the address given to Irish speaking children at his Gaeltacht sub-office. She posted it with great expectation of a response from the great man in a short acknowledgment and the promise of his best efforts to fulfill her dreams.

But the inefficiency if not stupidity of An Post, an organisation not noted for it's love of the language of Ireland, frustrated the wishes of this little child. (An Post - the state owned postal service in Ireland has no Irish version of it's website! In 2015 it issued Christmas Stamps for the first time without the word "Nollag" written on it!)

Somebody, somewhere in that great organisation decided that this was addressed to someplace outside Ireland and so it was sent to the United Kingdom. It is not known what the English Queen's postal service made of it. It possibly spent some weeks roaming up and down her realm before they decided that the address was "incomplete" and returned it to the country of origin. As a returned letter it was sent to the relevant section which is apparently situated in the Treaty City of Limerick. (Note the stamp of this section is only in English!).

This story on
Somebody in that section had a look at the address and realised it was an Irish address but obviously the ignorance of those involved in sorting mail is as abysmal as those who originally sent it across the sea so they decided to "correct" the address to an English language format to ensure that it would finally arrive at Santa's sub-office. The letter finally arrived on 22nd January 2015 and needless to say, Santa, resting after his exertions on the evening of the 24th December 2014 was roused and not best pleased at the ineptness of the Irish postal service.

When we tried to contact him at his holiday home in the Pacific he was unable to comment on individual cases but that any problems of this nature would be looked at very seriously.

It is rumoured that he has made a complaint to the Coimisinéir Teanga, who's office is in the same Gaeltacht and one can only hope that the Postal service will not send it to God knows where! We believe (and hope) that Santa has sent a response to the little girl advising of the long wait that he had for her letter and hoping that she liked the little presents that he took down her chimney almost a month ago.

We think that An Post will be in the bad books next Christmas and will be lucky to get anything from Santa in their stocking!

Some good news
Since this story was published there have been some developments!
The caretaker elves at Santa's Ceathrú Rua office have advised that the great man has been contacted and is sending a special reply. He has authorised them to seek a little present locally to send as well.
An Post have stated in a response to the news agency (Irish), that it was not the address that caused the letter to be sent to Britain but they are investigating it further. The further stated that sometimes errors do occur in the mail service in the run-up to Christmas due to the greater volume of post at that time.
They have not commented on the fact that "Co Galway" was scrawled on the envelope.
The matter has been raised with the Coimisinéir Teanga though there is little he can do as postal errors like this are not included in the scéim teanga of An Post.