Saturday, July 18, 2015

A cavalier code! A €27m burden! #Eircode

“Speak Irish among yourselves, but don’t speak it to us!”.  (State policy to the Gaeltacht Regions as described by Seán Ó Cuirreáin 23 January 2014)

The so-called roll out of the "postal-code" called EirCode has been mired with controversy since it's launch last week.

Perhaps it most spectacular failure is in the insulting way in which it is treating the National Language and indeed the names of those who use the correct form of their surnames and in its cavalier attitude to the names of places in the Gaeltacht and outside it. It's own name EirCode which they obviously think refers cleverly to "Éire" (Ireland) in fact would appear to be more correctly based on "eire" (burden/load). In fact there are those who maintain that it is a €27million burden on the hard pressed Irish taxpayer.

The blame game!
The Department responsible for employing those who invented this system, the selection process of which broke EU laws for such tendering, referred complaints to the EirCode organisation who referred it back to An Post. An Post came up with the breathtaking answer that it was due to a "technical problem."

The Irish on-line news resource and some other well known personalities have made public some of these. Indeed the writer himself has received notification addressed to "Owen Ó'Riain" which is a strange mixture of a Christian name I have never ever used and an even stranger Irish/English of spelling my surname with a "fada" AND an apostrophy. If they had wished to translate my fisrt name correctly then they ought to have used "John" as I was called after my grandfather whose name that was.

The writer of iGaeilge received his notificatio addressed to an anglacised variant of his surname without the inclusion of his first name at all. Perhaps "Concubhar" was beyond even the most inveterate anglophile.

In another delicious irony the envelope announcing the post code bears a return address without any postcode!
I wonder what technical problem would be able to change a persons name from "Eoin" to "Owen" in my case. And how could a technical issue work out that "Ó Ciardha" was "Carey" and not "Keery". Or that the lovely name of "Amhlaoibh" itself a Gaelicisation of the Scandanavian "Olav" but usually anglicised to "Humphrey", is changed to Auliffe.

Early warnings!
Conradh na Gaeilge had warned all through this process of possible problems especially with place names and indeed there are up to 50,000 address errors on the system which appears never to have gone to the Placenames resource on line, to make sure that names were correct. The the names of places hereabouts (the Conamara Gaeltacht) have become an English/Irish pastiche being neither one thing or the other.

The fact that An Post, who have been blamed by EirCode for this debacle, are unable to use the code themselves speaks volumes.

The fact that our Government have been happy to waste €27million of our money on this is an entirely other matter.

Because of the deficiencies in the legislation setting his office up, the Coiminéir Teanga, has no function in this matter. Nevertheless, as in other cases, he will I am sure register any complaints he receives and relay the dissatisfaction of complainants to the Legislature.