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The Eircode Controversy Or Screwing The Irish In That Other England

Ireland in chains
Ireland in chains
Éire in chains

Eircode, the controversial, multi-million euro postal code system for Ireland, has been launched by Alex White, the coalition’s minister for communications, and as expected the service comes with a host of issues. Topping these is the revelation that at least fifty thousand placenames across the country in the Irish language have been excluded from the new database. This of course is something that rights campaigners in the Hibernophone community have been predicting since the system was first mooted. From the Irish Times newspaper:

“Conradh na Gaeilge said there are thousands of inaccuracies and information gaps in the Eircode database. Its general secretary Julian de Spáinn has said the Irish version of many addresses will not be linked to their new Eircode.

Conradh said the problem was acknowledged by the Department of Communications earlier this year and a working group produced an action plan which laid out a programme over two years to resolve the situation at a cost of €200,000.

It has said the department is unwilling to sanction the expenditure.”

And why would it sanction the expenditure on our indigenous and national language when the Irish state, with all the “Team Ireland” and “wrap the green flag around me” nonsense stripped away, is simply a culturally dysfunctional “Little Britain” off the coast of Greater Britain? A schizophrenic, self-hating wannabe England of the West.

From the Irish Examiner:

“Members of Conradh na Gaeilge donned vintage clothing to evoke memories of a 1910 protest at the GPO when the group sought to compel the British government to allow letters addressed in Irish to be delivered through the Royal Mail in 1910.

…as far as the group was aware, there are no plans to include or update about 50,000 addresses in the system as the Government was not prepared to pay the costs required.

Communications Minister Alex White said no addresses are excluded from Eircode.

“All addresses are included. Every single address in the State is included,” said Mr White. “People can be reassured on that. There will be no address excluded.”

However, Eircode director Liam Duggan conceded some addresses are missing, but said that it was a matter for the Department of Arts, Culture, and the Gaeltacht.”

In other words, this only effects the Irish-speaking citizens of Ireland and those who otherwise identify with the language, so pretty much, screw you.

Ah well, perhaps we need not worry too much given that the system is incompatible with in-vehicle sat-navs, Google and Bing maps, and has been rejected by most major logistics carriers and courier services? Furthermore there is no requirement for anyone to use it, and even if one were tempted to do so, you will still require your existing full address in combination with the unique identifying code generated by the postal database. So that’s €27 million of tax-payers money well spent then…

P.S. It’s Eircode not Éircode? Would the correct use of the accent be so great a challenge in the bastardised Anglo-Irish product name? And the codes generated by the new system use non-Irish characters like “W” and “Z”? Seriously, I loathe this so-called country and all it stands for.

13 comments on “The Eircode Controversy Or Screwing The Irish In That Other England

  1. Strong words, but I can’t disagree. I’ve missed many a missive from friends over the years because of their refusal to use English place-names, because those are not the actual names of the places in which they reside. And you’re right; Ireland is ever increasingly becoming Anglophiliac; Daddy’s little boy. But don’t hate the players; hate the game. Great stuff.


  2. Something odd, dare I say it, “Irish”, is going on here.

    I worked with UK postcodes back when they had not long been introduced. They were defined by maps, in built-up areas usually one side of a street between intersections was the smallest unit. This meant (still means?) that provided you identified your house or other building, e.g. by name or number, and gave the postcode, then the address was unique and any other wording was optional as far as the PO were concerned. So an individual was in fact free to give the street and town name in any language or form the chose, without the PO being able to complain or make excuses for failure or delay to deliver the item, provided only that the postcode was correct and the delivery point (e.g. street number) were clearly identified.

    All that’s required is that everyone is informed of their individual postcode and adds it when quoting their address, and that the local postman has the local map for his/her walk. Any organisation that handles a lot of mail would simply add a postcode field to their existing client address database which would gradually get filled up as clients began to supply addresses with postcodes.

    In other words there is no absolute need for postcodes to be defined in terms of existing textual addresses, and to the extent that the two are linked, the spelling/language of the address would be entirely a matter of choice for owner of the property/business addressed. Just so long as there was no ambiguity over which letterbox to choose within the smallest postcode zone.

    In practise of course, since people can easily make mistakes with postcodes, the textual address gives added redundancy. But where Irish street/town names are commonly used, even by just a few ‘eccentrics’, the local postie should quickly learn to recognise them, with the postcode acting as a final reference. Ideally this puts the form of the address back into the hands of the local inhabitants.


  3. The fact that they are using “Eir” as distinct from “Éir” means that they are basing it on the Irish word “EIR” meaning “burden” rather than on “Éire” meaning Ireland. (see dictionary entry:

    Also in the new codes for Dublin the letter “D” is only used thus those of us who preferred to use the Irish (and more correct?) BAC are now outlawed.


  4. Both English and Irish versions of my address can be found in the Eircode database and they’re correct.

    Also compatibility problems are expected, because the system is still new. Sat-navs can be updated and both Google and Bing will probably update their software too.


    • For the Irish version of my address, which I use when I can, Eircode drew a blank both times I’ve tested it. My sister’s address came up the same. Yes, it is new. Yes, it is a waste of money.


  5. This article which I came across the other day may be relevant (or not, my Irish is rubbish). Anyway the heart of the matter seems to revolve around an official not accepting the equivalence of “Bóthar X” with “X Road” on two different documents. This is the type of “bureaucracy gone mad” that former colonials seem to have picked up from the British Empire, and then “improved” upon it. Anyway :

    ‘I need verification of your address,’ [said the] Giolla Deacair. [Oh-oh, Alarm bells and red lights]. ‘It has to be exactly the same,’ [said the] Giolla Deacair. ‘It is the same,’ [I said], ‘it’s just in Irish’.

    ‘You can get your licence today,’ [said the] Giolla Deacair, ‘but you will have to get it in English. I cannot verify this address.’

    Seo an duine a bhí ag labhairt Gaeilge liom dhá nóiméad roimhe. {This is the man who was speaking Irish with me just two minutes earlier.}


  6. A notification of the new code was received at my house today addressed to Owen Ó’Riain and in Gaillimh rather than Co na Gaillimhe. I have never used that spelling for my name and the surname has a superfluous apostrophe. But perhaps the most extraordinary point about the envelope is the bi-lingual message on the top left-hand corner which states: “If undelivered please return to PO Box 8, Kilrush, Co Clare!”

    I give up!

    I have returned the envelope unopened to the address they give. I hope it doesn’t get lost though I have heard that some parts of County Clare have been moved to Co Limerick….


    • Wow, that is bad. I still live with my name rendered into every symbol on the keyboard by automated postal systems.


      • eileen healy

        Yes , some of us in an Clár have been a Limerick “destination” It wouldn’t be the first time! If there’s anyone between Limerick and Cill Rois with an a name and address in Irish it will come to our house at some stage with a note on the envelope saying “Try house last on left”( another rant there)
        I would shed tears if I had done any of the work on Logainm ie –a wonderful resource which could be linked in to many more resources


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