Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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The Kerryman  (Dingle in the News)
THE result of the Dingle plebiscite was an overwhelming landslide in favour of changing the town's name from An Daingean to Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis.
More than a thousand people,out of the 1095 who returned their ballot papers,voted in favour of the change.
The night before the count the 'Yes' campaigners studied the register of eligible voters and estimated that there would be 77 'No' votes in the ballot box. In the event,that estimate proved to be extremely accurate.
The long-awaited count began in the Hillgrove Hotel shortly after 11.30 on Friday morning when Kerry county council's Returning Officer Charlie O'Sullivan emptied the single ballot box onto the counters' table.
The table was positioned some 30 feet from the public to protect the identity of the voters in the postal ballot. The Mayor of Kerry,Cllr Ted Fitzgerald, deputised Tralee Cllr Pat McCarthy to represent him at the count.
After the ballot envelopes had been counted Mr O'Sullivan announced that 1086 envelopes had been returned out of the 1222 issued to eligible voters.
In order for the plebiscite to be carried there would have to be 612 votes in favour of the proposal to change the town's name.
The votes were sorted into three groups representing 'No', 'Yes' or 'Invalid'. Some envelopes contained more than one ballot paper.
As the sorting progressed a rough tally showed a ratio of around 14 to 1 in favour of the proposal.
Meanwhile,the local and national media,at the count centre,kept their respective agencies informed of progress. The watching crowd were relatively subdued and tense throughout this period. But when a mobile phone rang with the ringtone of a cock crowing there was a burst of relieved laughter.
The sorting was completed by 1.35pm and Charlie O'Sullivan announced a break in proceedings before beginning the official count. However,there was no doubt about the outcome at this point. Three large piles of ballot papers representing 'Yes' votes dominated the count table.
Before the count began,shortly after 2pm,Charlie O'Sullivan announced a return of 89.6 per cent of the ballot papers issued. Around 20 minutes later he gave the official count,first in Irish and then in English.
Of the 1095 ballots returned 1005 were in favour of changing the town's name. There were 70 votes against the proposal and 20 invalid votes.
The result was greeted with loud,prolonged cheering by those attending. Flags were waved and champagne sprayed as cameras recorded the crowd's reaction.

Following the result The Kerryman spoke to a number of the 'Yes' campaign supporters at the count centre. For the record, there were no declared 'No' voters present.

Fergus O'Flaherty said:
"I'm overwhelmed and delighted with the support we got from the people. I honestly didn't expect such a massive vote in favour of the plebiscite. The most important thing about this is that the people of Dingle,of all walks of life and political allegiances,rallied together to show their support,"

Tom Lynch said:
"People really got behind the campaign and to break a thousand votes out of less than eleven hundred cast is fantastic going. It's unfortunate that this issue,about the town's name, became mixed up with an issue about the Irish Language,"

Danno O'Keeffe said:
"This is a superb result and we're sending a clear message to Minister Ó Cuív. In future,if he wants to promote the Irish Language this is not the way to do it. Forcing it on people has never worked. The people of this town stood up for their birthright and that's why you have the return you have today,".

Peter Callery said:
"This was always about democracy. The people have spoken and I hope the Minister is listening,"

John Moriarty said:
"We worked very hard for this over the past year and I believe the ordinary people of the town as well as the business people will be celebrating this evening. This was a local issue and we're overwhelmed with the result. So I think Minister Ó Cuív,Kerry county council and our Taoiseach will have to listen to this result,"

Kate O'Connor said:
"I'm absolutely delighted. We were confident of the result judging from the reaction of people on the doorsteps as we went around the town but you never know how things will turn out until that ballot box is opened. It's a great day for Dingle,"

Historian and author Canon Jack McKenna said.
"This is a very historic occasion and the first plebiscite to be held in the town or district. I'm very pleased with the result because I want to see both names,Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis,retained,"

Meanwhile,Minister Ó Cuív has requested a private meeting with County Manager Martin Riordan and all councillors to discuss the implications of the plebiscite result.
by Ted Creedon

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