Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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RE: The Name Of Dingle:
The Irish Times  (The Dingle Letters)
Dear Editor,

Recently the elected members of Kerry County Council passed a resolution almost unanimously (18 to 1) in favour of allowing the people of Dingle to vote on whether the name of their town would be officially known, bilingually, as “Dingle” in English and “Daingean Ui Chuis” in Irish rather than “An Daingean” only as recently directed by Ministerial Order.

Such local voting rights, which have previously been exercised in other parts of the country, are given under the Local Government Act 1946 and replacing legislation in the 2001 Act (which is not yet in force).

It is disturbing that Minister Eamon O’Cuiv should state (Kerryman of the 27th October) that the result of any such vote will be ignored and the people of Dingle thus denied their democratic and statutory rights.

The Minister claims the Attorney General’s office has informed him he cannot reverse his decision, but he then qualifies this by adding that he possibly can alter or modify only the Irish versions of some place names.

Section 32 of the Official Languages Act 2003 enables the Minister to make, amend or revoke a place names order but this is only possible if he first receives advice to do so from the Place Names Commission. Put simply, this means that unalterable changes in place names are, in effect, made by unelected persons none of whom reside in the Town or even the Parish affected by their recommendations.

Some time ago the name “St. Petersburg” replaced that of “Leningrad” by the democratic decision of that City, yet we, in Dingle, are to be denied similar rights which apply in all non-Gaeltacht areas of Ireland and so be deprived of our name which has existed for more than 700 years.

It is the function of a Minister to serve his people, not to rule by decree or pursue a fundamentalist policy more suited to certain Middle Eastern regimes.

If the Minister must seek the advice of the Attorney General then perhaps that should focus on the rights of citizens enshrined in Article 40 of the Constitution and the illegality of the invidious discrimination resulting from denying our community the democratic liberties applying, and indeed exercised, in other parts of Ireland.
Peter J. Callery. Green Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry.

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