Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has described the demands by the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) Landlord Registration Scheme that people drop the fadas in their names when filling in their online forms as unacceptable.
Speaking to The Derry Journal Colr. Kelly called on the the DSD to change their policy immediately.
There was also the fear of heavy financial penalties if they didn’t get the forms completed before the deadlineSinn Fein Councillor, Colly Kelly
“I have been dealing with the concerns of a constituent who went through a lengthy process to put all their details into the on-line system only to be told when they pressed the final process button they couldn’t accept it.
“They had to go through a series of emails and making phone calls to try and find out what was going on and get it resolved.
“They emailed the company NI Direct who deals with it as they could not get through on the phone as the phone directs you to the email address regarding why the request was not going through.”
Colr. Kelly went on to say that what the DSD was doing was unfair as many people who wanted to fill in the form with their correct name face the possibility of a financial fine if they didn’t submit their application on time.
“There was also the fear of heavy financial penalties if they didn’t get the forms completed before the deadline. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that in 2015 people with Gaeilge names cannot use the services unless they drop the fada.
“There are thousands of people in this city with Gaeilge names and the fada is integral to meaning in the Irish language to the extent that identical spelling without the fada portrays a completely different message.”
Colr. Kelly added: “Gaeilge is an official language of the European Union and the first language of many people across the island. As such it is incumbent on all official bodies to treat it with the same respect and recognition as all other languages.”
When contacted by The Derry Journal, a spokesperson for Department for Social Development (DSD) said they were aware of the issue.
“The Landlord Registration system accepts all names - as entered by the landlord – and will issue all Registration Certificates with the information as it has been provided by the landlord.
“However, the Department is aware of an issue with the payment system which does not facilitate the use of any special characters – including fadas.
“Landlords using any special characters during payment are advised to contact the Landlord Registration Scheme advice line directly on 0300 200 7821 where an adviser will offer support to complete the registration process over the telephone.”