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Minister Insists on Irish Version of Dingle
The Irish Times  (Dingle in the News)
The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon Ó Cuív, has ruled out allowing the name Dingle to appear on maps, road signs, statutory instruments and official correspondence instead of the new official Irish version, An Daingean.

Public representatives in west Kerry are seeking a derogation to allow the anglicised version to be used on signposts and maps outside the Gaeltacht. They argue the anglicised Dingle is an international tourism brand name and one easily recognised by tourists.

Since the Placenames (Ceantair Gaeltachta) Order 2004 was implemented, the name Dingle no longer exists - and there was no question of changing the name, the Minister said on Wednesday.

"It is An Daingean, full stop," Mr Ó Cuív said. People could not insist on retaining "Dingle" on signposts outside the Gaeltacht but there was a possible solution, if that was the wish of the community, and that was to begin legislation to take An Daingean out of the Gaeltacht altogether. Even this might not be enough to change the legal status of the placename, he added.

"The days of walking both sides of the street are over. It's a nonsense not having linguistic criterion attached to the Gaeltacht," said the Minister.

The biggest tourist industry was language-related tourism and 24,000 students went to the Kerry Gaeltacht each year to learn Irish, he said. "If you are in the Gaeltacht, one would imagine the first brand you would sell is the Irish language.

"The Irish language brand is the brand."

Daingean meant something (a fort); Dingle meant nothing.

Using An Daingean did not or should not pose any more difficulty for tourists than the switch from Kingstown to Dún Laoghaire or from Queenstown to Cobh, he said.

Were there to be a sign in Dublin for the west Kerry Gaeltacht town, legally it would have to be "An Daingean", Mr Ó Cuív said.

A motion was passed in Kerry County Council earlier this week seeking information on whether "Dingle" could remain on signposts outside the Gaeltacht.

Cllr Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, FG, a native Irish speaker, said it was unfair of the Minister to suggest "Dingle" would have to leave the Gaeltacht to retain its international identity.

The question of Gaeltacht boundaries was a separate issue and should not be used as a threat.

Fellow west Kerry councillor Michael O'Shea, FF, said it was "a disaster" to remove "Dingle" from signposts.

Tourists were already "getting dizzy in the head" going up and down by-roads trying to match up maps which still had "Dingle" with signposts for An Daingean, he said.

"We must write to Minister Ó Cuív and tell him foreigners do not understand the Irish language. Perhaps a new sign should now be put up on the N86: 'If you don't understand Irish, don't go beyond this point'," he said.

Ó Cuív should mind his language, but not with orders
Anne Lucey

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