Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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Dingle name campaign grows into struggle for democracy
The Kerryman  (Dingle in the News)
THE people of Dingle are at the centre of a tug of war between democracy and dictatorship, brought about by Gaeltacht Minister Eamon Ó Cuiv’s decision to impose an Irish language version of the town’s name against the wishes of many local people.

At a public meeting that was attended by over 200 people in the town on Monday night, Minister Ó Cuív was accused of depriving the townspeople of their democratic rights and of conducting a campaign of persuasion, bribery and threat against the local population. Guest speaker Senator Joe O’Toole stressed that the key issue in the debate is not about the name of the town but about the rights of its inhabitants.

“If somebody tried to change the name of a townland or a village in County Dublin there would be outright war. The people of the Gaeltacht are the only people in this country who are being deprived of that democratic right,” he stated.

Mr O’Toole stressed that people should not be sucked into a debate about the gaeltacht versus non-gaeltacht or Irish versus English.

“But these are the issues Minister Ó Cuív wants to speak about and so we have a campaign of persuasion, bribery and threats. Persuasion in the form of telling us that this is good for Irish. That we should just change the name and not make a big deal about it. The bribery is telling us they’ll be big grants going. And the threat is that you’ll be out of the Gaeltacht if you take the wrong decision and you’ll lose out,” he said.

“This is how the political establishment deals with small groups of people and they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. They make them feel on the wrong side of the argument. They...do everything except address the issues. This issue is not about language but about people’s rights and I want people to be angry and passionate about that,” he said.

“What we’re saying here tonight is that we want the democratic right to determine the name of our town. We won’t put up with what has happened. We oppose it and we want it changed,” he declared to loud applause.

Fergus O’Flaherty told the meeting in Benners Hotel that the name ‘Dingle’ has existed for at least 700 years but according to Minister Ó Cuív it no longer exists.

“When we met Minister Ó Cuív lately he told us to get it into our heads that there’s no such place as Dingle or Daingean Uí Chúis. I don’t agree with that and I want the support of the people to get the names reinstated. I want to thank the county councillors for voting in favour of a plebiscite. But the Minister said that he will not accept the result of that plebiscite so now it becomes a question of democracy versus dictatorship,” he declared.

Businessman Pádraig Lynch said the loss of the name would damage the town’s commerce and result in the death of Irish because compulsion never favoured the Irish Language.

Dingle Peninsula Tourism Chairwoman Síle Gorman said the Government had spent millions promoting the Dingle Peninsula brand and now wants to throw it away.

The pro Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis committee is made up of the following: President, Canon Jack McKenna; members, Fergus O’Flaherty, Kate O’Connor, Frank O’Sullivan, Peter Callery, Thomas Kavanagh, Jimmy Bambury, John Moriarty, Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, Paul Geaney and Micheál Granville.

Kate O’Connor said a campaign website will be launched soon under the name of: www.dinglename.com.
Ted Creedon

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