October 31, 2023
Legal protection for names with ‘Síneadh Fada’ welcome – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

(Gaeilge below)

With the passing of today’s deadline by which Sections 4 and 5 of the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 comes into force, the síneadh fada in your name is now protected in law. Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD doggedly pursued the acceptance of the new protection when debating the new law in 2020 and 2021.

This is one of several provisions of the Act which are coming into force today nearly two years on from its passage in December 2021, as set out by Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Patrick O’Donovan TD.

Ó Snodaigh, who chairs the Oireachtas Committee which scrutinised the Act, said:

“When the legislation first came before the Dáil, the Government only planned to give protection to the séimhiú – literally just use of the letter ‘h’ – and even voted against protecting the síneadh fada when Sinn Féin tabled amendments at Committee Stage.

“Thankfully, following pressure from Sinn Féin as well as from the wider public, Government relented, and we now see the síneadh fada protected for the first time in the history of the State. It’s only taken 101 years.

“This now means that in your dealings with any state bodies, from Uisce Éireann and the HSE right through to universities and county councils, you will have the right to have your Irish language name and address correctly recorded, including the síneadh fada.

“It is unfortunate that Government rejected our proposal to expand the provision to cover private companies, so that the likes of Aer Lingus, banks and utilities companies operating in Ireland are also required to respect Irish names.

“The right to your name is a fundamental one, enshrined in Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Irish state should not allow the colonial practice of Irish names being anglicised and declared invalid to continue.

“Respecting a person’s síneadh fada is a core element of that. There’s a big difference between Seán and Sean, or between Cáca and Caca!

“Other welcome improvements proposed by Sinn Féin and due to take effect from today should mean you will be able to access any official form in Irish, you will receive any correspondence or email from state agencies in Irish, you shouldn’t have to use a title like Mr. or Ms. in any language, and that new bodies created in legislation, or new logos for existing bodies, must be in Irish or bilingual.

“I look forward to seeing the Statutory Instrument signed into law by senior Minister Catherine Martin TD without delay, as promised, and Sinn Féin will continue working to expand these protections so that people with Irish language names and Irish speakers are given the respect they deserve.”

Fáilte roimh cosaint sa dlí do ainmneacha le síntí fada – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Agus an spriocdháta sroichte inniú faoina dtiocfaidh Ailt 4 agus 5 d’Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2021 i bhfeidhm, tá an síneadh fada i d’ainm anois cosanta sa dlí. Bhí urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, díbhirceach sa tóir ar aontú na cosanta nua seo fad is a bhí an dlí nua á plé i 2020 agus 2021.

Tagann sé seo mar chuid de réimse forálacha san Acht a thagann i bhfeidhm inniu, beagnach dhá bliain ó achtaíodh é i Nollaig 2021, de réir mar a leag an tAire Stáit Gaeltachta Patrick O’Donovan TD amach.

Dúirt Ó Snodaigh, Cathaoirleach ar an gComhchoiste Oireachtais a rinne scrúdú ar an reachtaíocht:

“Bhíomar ag fanacht le Fada, ach tá an Síneadh thart anois!

“Nuair a tháinig an reachtaíocht os comhair na Dála i dtosach, ní raibh i gceist ag an Rialtas ach cosaint a thabhairt don séimhiú – sé sin díreach úsáid an ‘h’ – agus vótáil siad i gcoinne an síneadh fada a chosaint fiú nuair a mhol Sinn Féin leasuithe ag Céim an Choiste.

“A bhuí le brú ó Shinn Féin agus ón phobal go ginearálta, ghéill an Rialtas, agus anois tá cosaint ag an síneadh fada don chéad uair i stair an Stáit. Níor thóg sé ach 101 bliain.

“Is éard a chiallaíonn sé seo ná go mbeidh sé de cheart agat, agus tú ag deileáil le heagrais stat, ó Uisce Éireann agus Feidhmeannas na Seirbhíse Sláinte siar go hollscoileanna agus comhairle contae, go ndéanfar taifead ceart ar d’ainm Gaelach agus do sheoladh i nGaeilge, síntí fada san áireamh.

“Is mór an trua gur dhiúltaigh an Rialtas dár n-iarrachtaí an fhoráil seo a leathnú amach chun comhlachtaí príomháideacha a chlúdú, ionas go mbeadh an dualgas céanna ar a leithéidí Aer Lingus, bainc agus comhlachtaí fóntais, meas a bheith acu ar ainm Gaelach.

“Ceart bunúsach atá ann d’ainm féin a bheith ag duine, cuimsithe in Airteagal 7 de Choinbhinsiún na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Linbh, agus ní chóir don Stát Éireannach ligint don chleachtas coilíneach leanúint ar aghaidh ina ndéantar Béarlú agus neamhbhailiú ar ainmneacha Gaelacha.

“San áireamh ansin, ní mór meas a léiriú ar shíneadh fada an duine. Tá difear mór idir Seán agus Sean, nó Cáca agus Caca!

“Rudaí eile a rachaidh chun feabhais de réir athruithe an lá inniu, molta ag Sinn Féin, ná go mbeidh tú in ann fáil a fháil ar fhoirm oifigiúil ar bith i nGaeilge, go bhfaighfidh tú comhfhreagras nó rphoist ó eagrais stáit i nGaeilge, nach mbeidh gá ort teideal ar nós Mr. nó Ms. a úsáid i dteanga ar bith, agus go mbeidh aon eagras nua bunaithe de réir reachtaíocht, nó lógó nua d’eagras bunaithe cheana féin, i nGaeilge nó go dátheangach.

“Táim ag tnúth go mór leis an Ionstram Reachtúil a fheiceáil sínithe ag an Aire sinsearach Catherine Martin TD gan mhoill, mar atá geallta, agus leanfaidh Sinn Féin linn ag obair chun na cosaintí seo a leathnú ionas go léireofar an meas atá tuilte acu dóibh siúd le hainm Gaelach nó a labhraíonn Gaeilge.”

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