Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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Plebiscite result going to Minister
The Kerryman  (The Dingle Letters)
DESPITE late attempts by Irish-language activists to delay any immediate action on the ratification of the Dingle plebiscite, a majority of county councillors at their meeting on Monday morning voted in favour of sending the result of the recent vote to Environment Minister Dick Roche.
Of the 1,222 townspeople who were eligible to vote in last week’s plebiscite, 1,005 voted in favour of changing the official name of their home from An Daingean to Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis.
Minister Dick Roche will now consider the result, but Irish-language activisits, most notably the group, Todhchaí na Gaeltachta (Future of the Gaeltacht), have said the matter is far from closed and that they intend to bring their case before government.
Todhchaí na Gaeltachta spokesperson, Seán Ó Cinnéide, told the chamber on Monday morning that his group - representative of a large section of the community in the Gaeltacht - had grave concerns on three fronts. “Firstly, the proposal is causing division among the people of Corca Dhuibhne, among those who support the double name and those who support the retention of the Irish name under the Official Languages Act.
Secondly, this may entail the loss of Gaeltacht status for the town. Is it simply a matter of having a name that is identifiable in New York? If it loses its Irish name it will have implications for the whole area, the people will no longer have a service town in the Gaeltacht,” he said.
Thirdly, he said that the Irish-language integrity of all parts of the Gaeltacht was essential if the country is to remain connected to its linguistic heritage, ‘the longest literate society in Europe’. He asked that the decision to send the plebiscite result to Minister Roche be delayed so that local resolution might be achieved.
Dún Chaoin native, Cllr Breandán MacGearailt, agreed. “I propose that we make no decision on this for another month and see if there would be a local resolution on it before it would go to the Minister.”
Dingle’s Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald felt the people had spoken, however. “It has been known as Dingle for the last 50 years and the language has thrived there. People are speaking it there now whose parents couldn’t. Dingle wants both names. They’re not against the Irish language, in fact they’ve always promoted it. 1,005 people have voted wanting to retain both names and I feel it should now go to the Minister for the Environment and let him find a resolution for it,” he said.
Kate O’Connor, representing townspeople in favour of the name change, urged the council not to prolong the issue. “We’ve been here four times debating this already, don’t bring us back a fifth time. 93 per cent of the people asked to have the traditional name restored and I think the council is obliged to present the plebiscite to the government now. Either we’re democratic or we’re not democratic,” she argued.
Fifteen councillors voted in favour of sending the result to the Minister who is expected to bring it before cabinet and ascertain its legal standing under the auspices of the Attorney General.
Mr Ó Cinnéide reaffirmed his view, speaking to media after the meeting, that the result would not be found legally binding as it contravened the Official Languages Act.
He described the council’s decision as ‘disappointing’.
© Kerryman
& http://www.unison.ie/
By Dónal Nolan

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