RegSol Blog

DPC Ruling: No right to a Fada…

May 2019

A man being treated for cancer, complained to the Data Protection Commission that the HSE were failing to record his name correctly as they refused to include the fadas in his name on his medical records.

After taking 8 months to investigate the complaint, the DPC has ruled that there is no ‘absolute right’ to have your name spelled correctly – in this case by including fadas. They emphasised that each case needs to be looked at individually and depends on the circumstances. The ruling throws up the limitation of proportionality with respect to the rights to data accuracy and rectification. The deciding factor here appears to be that the system used in the particular hospital was not capable of including a fada.  

The complainant in this case, Ciarán Ó Cofaigh, was certainly not happy with the result. He stated that "You often hear of the right to defend your good name - I don't even have a right to a name." It’s a fair point, particularly given the fact that data accuracy is enshrined in the principles of GDPR. It begs the question that if an Irish name is supposed to have a fada in it for pronunciation and linguistic purposes, can it ever be said to be accurate without it?  From a data protection perspective, it appears to be.

Our Researcher Killian Flood B.L. has delved into this a bit further and you can read his article here.