Dispute over efforts to rebrand Doire Cholmcille
Dispute over efforts to rebrand Doire Cholmcille

A legal dispute appears certainover efforts by Derry City Council to drop the use of `London' as a prefix for the city's name.

Originally known as Doire Cholmcille (the oakgrove of St Columba), the Anglicisation of Doire gave Derry its familiar name.

During the British occupation and plantation, Charles the second issued a Royal Charter naming the city Londonderry in 1662.

The Democratic Unionist Party in Derry now claims to have unearthed an historical royal manuscript which they believe settles once and for all the row over the official name of the city.

The manuscript, in antique book form, contains translations of royal charters granted almost 400 years ago which state the name of the city ``shall for ever hereafter be and shall be named and called the city of Londonderry''.

There have been many efforts to change the name and in 1984, city councillors succeeded in changing the name of the council from Londonderry to Derry City Council, a move which provoked outrage among unionist politicians.

Sinn Féin's Barney O'Hagan said the move was not designed to be offensive to unionists but was an effort to brand Derry properly.

``The cocktail of Derry-Londonderry-Doire sends a confusing and mixed message to visitors and residents of this city alike.

``I believe the term Derry-stroke-Londonderry, rather than being inclusive, actually promotes

Last year nationalist councllors proposed and supported a joint proposal that the name of the city be changed to Derry, arguing it would thereby be depoliticised. The council's legal argument is that the name has, de facto, already changed and that it is now for the courts to decide.

Mr O'Hagan said it was now time for organisations like the `Londonderry Port and Harbour Commission' and the `Londonderry Chamber of Commerce' to change their names. He said business leaders in particular should be aware of the need to brand the city in the most acceptable way.

``We believe Derry is recognised right across every level of society,'' he said.

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