Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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Council to recognise Dingle placename
The Irish Times  (Dingle in the News)
Kerry county councillors will move today to revoke the placenames order of the Official Languages Act 2003 and to officially recognise An Daingean's English name, Dingle.
That move is expected to be formalised by the councillors today at their monthly meeting when they will endorse an application to the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to act on a plebiscite in the town held under the Local Government Act 1946, to change the name An Daingean to the bilingual Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis. However, protests over the Kerry town's official placename continue.
It has emerged that some Irish-speaking families in the Corca Dhuibhne peninsula are boycotting shops in Dingle as part of a campaign to protest against the councillors' move.
Some 250 Irish speakers turned up on Friday night to a public meeting in the Skellig Hotel in Dingle, hosted by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív.
During the meeting, a number of speakers urged Mr Ó Cuív "as Gaeilge" to support the legislation to give Irish placenames in Gaeltacht areas official status.
"Ná tréig sinn!" ("Do not abandon us") one speaker said. Others said that the move to give An Daingean an English name was in the interests of the moneyed and of people selling property. Culture was more important and allowing an English name in a Gaeltacht town amounted to "deireadh ré na Gaeilge" ("the end of the era of Irish"), Mr Ó Cuív was told by one of the speakers.
Other speakers said that the council did not represent their views and that the wider Gaeltacht community should have been allowed to vote in the plebiscite.
Earlier on Friday, Mr Ó Cuív had told councillors at a meeting in Tralee that he would "bow to their wishes" and would not oppose their application to Mr Roche for a bilingual name for the town.
Mr Ó Cuív said that his position - under advice from the attorney general - was that the plebiscite held under the Local Government Act 1946 to change a placename would have no validity in a Gaeltacht area because of the Official Languages Act 2003.
He also apologised to councillors for "a bad read on my part" and for not consulting the inhabitants of An Daingean.
In a further conciliatory move to the council, Mr Ó Cuív advised the councillors that "Dingle" road signs were acceptable, as long as they had permission and were official local authority signs.
This was a turnaround from when Mr Ó Cuív declared that Dingle no longer existed, officially, and "it is An Daingean, full stop".
According to Fianna Fáil sources, Mr Ó Cuív has come under pressure from Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, and former Dingle Fianna Fáil senator Tom Fitzgerald, to make a concession to the town's inhabitants.
However, with 7,000 Irish-speaking voters in the Corca Dhuibhne peninsula, as opposed to just over 1,000 voters in the town, Mr Ó Cuív may also face pressure to make a conciliatory move towards those campaigning for an Irish-only name.
Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh, spokesman for Todhchaí na Gaeltachta, the representative group set up in the peninsula to campaign for a retention of the Irish name An Daingean, said that his group was not responsible for boycotting shops in the town.
The boycott has focused on shops that were active in supporting the name change to Dingle but Mr Mac Amhlaoibh said that he knew of families that were involved in the boycott.
However, the county council's decision to seek a bilingual name was "not representative of Corca Dhuibhne", he said.
Mr MacAmhlaoibh said that the new turn in events was a case of "pass the parcel" and that the attorney general would have the final say on the matter.
Anne Lucey

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