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UK post office refused to send parcel as address in Irish

Conradh na Gaeilge has criticised the British Post Office after refusing to send a parcel because the address was written in Irish.

A musician from Belfast, Gráinne Holland, went to the post office on High Street in Belfast city centre to send a parcel to Letterkenny.

The parcel had the Eircode on it but Gráinne was told that it could not be accepted because the address was in Irish.

She was asked to translate the address and the worker in the post office wrote the English version on the parcel.

“This has never happened me before. I have worked for Irish language companies since I left university. I’ve posted countless, hundreds of letters over the years.

“It has got me thinking that this was something that I took for granted and I know our parents’ generation have faced problems like this before but we never had and I always felt lucky like it’s no big deal. I just knew we post our post in Irish and that’s it.

“This is the first time it’s happened and I feel shocked and surprised,” Ms Holland said.

A Post Office spokesperson said that the advice for any item sent internationally, which includes ÉIRE, has always been that the destination country has to be written in English.

“It is an international regulatory requirement for parcels and large letters that contain goods that an electronic data customs file is required.

“This file should include details of addresses. The Post Office computer system uses an English alphabet keyboard and therefore, the country and the address need to be in English,” the spokesperson said.

Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh from Conradh na Gaeilge said this was extremely disappointing.

“They do have responsibilities under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and that resolute action towards the Irish language under the Good Friday Agreement.

“We have written to them today to remind them of those responsibilities.

“We asked them to clarify their current policy to make sure they do and to ask them to clarify that policy with their staff as well, who clearly don’t understand that they do have a responsibility and obligation to deal with the Irish language in an equitable and fair manner.”

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