The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
Mr. John Gormley, has announced (29 April) that he proposes
to introduce a number of legislative changes aimed at resolving
the dispute concerning the name of An Daingean - while giving
greater recognition to the Irish language where placename
changes are proposed.
"The debate over the name of Dingle in Kerry has drawn
attention to a number of issues which need to be addressed,
where placename changes are proposed. The local government
code relating to placenames does not reflect the reality that
placenames in Ireland generally have both an Irish and English
version" - said the Minister.
"I therefore propose to amend local government law to
ensure that all future proposals for placename changes must
specify the proposed name in Irish and English, unless it
is indicated that an Irish name only is to be adopted.
"It remains Government policy that the names of places
within the Gaeltacht should generally be recognised by the
State in Irish. However, where a local community wishes to
vote to change the name to an alternative Irish-only name
- or to an Irish and English version - that version will supersede
any Placenames Order under the Official Languages Act 2003.
"In that regard, I will also ensure in future that any
plebiscites used to ascertain the views of the population
living within the area subject to the change of placename
must be held in secret."
Notwithstanding any issue with the plebiscite held in Dingle,
the Minister considered that it was clear that the overwhelming
majority of the population of the town wished to see recognition
given to 'Dingle' in the name of the town. The plebiscite
sought to introduce a bilingual name 'Dingle Daingean Uí
Chúis' - a version which, in reality, neither Irish or
English speakers would use.
The Minister therefore proposes that the opportunity would
be taken in legislation to provide that Daingean Uí Chúis
should be the official name of the town of An Daingean in
the Irish language, with Dingle being the official
name of the town in the English language.
The requirements of road traffic regulations regarding signage
in the Gaeltacht will not be affected - i.e. places within
the Gaeltacht will continue to be shown in Irish only.
In view of the above measures, the Government is not acceding
to the application from Kerry County Council made in November
2006. The legislation required to make these changes will
be introduced as part of the general reforms of local government
which are discussed in the Green Paper Stronger Local Democracy,
published by the Minister last week (Click
"I appreciate the sensitivities in relation to the recognition
of 'An Daingean' as the capital of the Corca Dhuibhne
Gaeltacht and 'Dingle' as a name to which the townspeople
are obviously attached. I hope that these proposals, which
give greater recognition to the Irish language generally when
placename changes are proposed, can bring a satisfactory conclusion
to the issue" - stated Minister Gormley.