The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) recently announced a proposed policy change to allow the registration of .ie domain names as Gaeilge (in Irish). The proposed policy change for the release of Internationalised domain names (IDNs) would allow for the registration of domains which include non-standard characters such as á, é, í, ó, and ú.

The proposal arises from the increased demand for IDNs, particularly to cater for the Irish language, and also the removal of many of the technical complexities associated with IDNs, which has resulted in increased popularity across the world.

The release of IDNs will be carried out in stages to ensure that they are released in a fair and equitable manner. The first registration period, the Sunrise phase, will be solely for trade mark holders and will run for a period of 30 days. Registered trade mark holders will be able to obtain IDNs that correspond exactly to their registered trade marks. The Landrush phase is the second registration period, which will be open to existing .ie registrants who hold domain registrations in the Irish language. During this 30 day phase existing .ie registrants will be able to register the correct version of their current Irish language domain registration with fadas. Thereafter domain names will be open to the general public for registration on a first come first served basis.

The proposed phased mechanism of introducing IDNs with fadas has been designed to reduce infringement and cybersquatting issues. Nonetheless trade mark holders and existing .ie registrants must ensure that they apply for the domain name within the relevant time frames. It is also understood that the IEDR may implement further measures such as stipulating cut-off points by which point in time registrants must have acquired the trade mark or Irish domain name to further reduce the likelihood of infringement and cybersquatting issues arising.

The IEDR invited submissions from the public on this proposal and the public consultation process ended on 21 March. A summary report on the findings of the consultation is due to be published soon and the Policy Advisory Committee is due to meet on 16 June 2016 to progress the proposal further.

The introduction of IDNs would allow Irish language speakers to conduct their business and other online activities through Irish more effectively. The implementation of the proposal would enable Governmental Departments, businesses and trade mark holders to obtain a domain name in Irish that accurately relates to their activities and strengthen Irish authenticity.

Tá an fhorbairt seo i dtaobh na Gaeilge le moladh go mór. Mar a deir an seanfhocal “I ndiaidh a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin”.