Gael’s dismay at bank’s refusal of Irish cheque

By Kieran Hughes

A Glengormley gaelgeoir has spoken of his shock after a well known high street bank refused to lodge his cheque because it was written in Irish. Chris Quinn, from Church Crescent, lodged the cheque with the amount written in Irish into the Santander cash machine in the town on April 28.  Two days later he received a letter from the bank saying they were unable to lodge the cheque because they were unable to verify the amount in words because it was written in Irish.

Chris, who is on the board of governors at Hightown Road Irish language school Gaelscoil Eanna, said he was shocked, particularly because Irish is a language recognised by the Stormont Executive.

“My family use the language daily while in work school, sports, leisure activities, socially and whilst accessing services such as banking,” he said.

“I bank regularly with cheques written in Irish, so I phoned Santander to air my grievances. Irish is the official language of Ireland; is recognised by the Executive at the Assembly as an official language of the North; and is recognised and protected through the European Charter for Minority Languages. I feel my rights had been infringed as I have banked for many years in Irish both personally and professionally.”

He added it was ironic that Santander is based close to the Basque region of Spain which also has its own language.

A Santander spokeswoman said the cheque has now been accepted by the branch and paid in to Mr Quinn’s account. “At present it is our policy to only accept cheques in English.”

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