THE NATIONAL Transport Authority has come under intense scrutiny for ailing to properly spell Irish names on a number of public transport passes.
The fada is a way of indicating a particular pronunciation or meaning of a word in Irish and is traditionally presented in the form of a slanting line over a vowel.
However, it has emerged that the NTA had not been including the acute accent of some transport cards, citing a “technical limitation” as the chief cause.
It meant that names like Sinéad and Séamus were presented in an almost entirely different way on some Leap cards, a type of public transport pass used throughout Ireland.
The revelation emerged as part of several documents released to the Irish Mirror under a freedom of information act that show Transport Minister Shane Ross dad recently complained to the NTA over the matter.
Ross was moved to bring the matter up after discovering the son of one of his constituents had had difficulties getting his name spelt properly on a Leap card.
Replying to Ross’s conerns last October, NTA chief Anne Graham attempted to explain the issue.
“We regret that the Leap card system cannot currently print characters such as fada signs or accents due to a technical limitation,” she said.
These claims have been flatly rejected though.
Broadcaster and Gaeilgeoir Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh branded the NTA’s response as “rubbish”.
“I don’t accept that. In this day and age, you can do everything technically,” she said.
“I have three computers and they all take the fada.
“There is no excuse — whether public or a private.
Her criticism was echoed by Liam Ó Maonlaí, the frontman of the rock group Hothouse Flowers.
“There is no real excuse for it,” he said.
“Pretty much all printing technology has the capacity to print fadas. A lot of people in Ireland view this language as something to be ashamed of. It is a pity.”
State agencies in Ireland are currently obliged to provide services in Irish.
There is no specific provision in legislation on the use of the sineadh fada in a name.