Irish Republican News · July 25, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Translation problems in Kerry

A debate is raging in an Irish-speaking town in County Kerry, where local residents are to vote on changing the town’s name back to its original Irish form.

There has been controversy since the Anglicised name Dingle was replaced by ‘An Daingean’ under the Place Names Order 2004, introduced on Easter Monday by Gaeltacht Minister Eamon O Cuiv.

Under the Order, English version of Gaeltacht placenames are being deprecated in favour of the original Irish version. Some residents have objected to any change, warning that tourists wold be confused by the Irish version, while others complained that Minister O Cuiv failed to select the more correct name for the town, Daingean Ui Chuis.

Kerry County Council is now to hold a plebiscite after councillors had put down four motions calling for the name to be changed from the current version, An Daingean, to a bilingual hybrid, Dingle/Daingean Ui Chuis.

If the town votes for the change, it will ask the Dublin government to restore the Dingle name to signposts.

At last week’s council meeting, the Mayor of Kerry, Sinn Féin’s Toireasa Ni Fhearaoisa said both the County Council and Udaras na Gaeltachta should have a joint consultation process with all of the people of Corca Dhuibhne, the Dingle peninsula.

The use of the anglicised name Dingle could have serious implications for funding under future reviews of Gaeltacht boundaries, she said.

Those who support the change of name have argued that because the region is in receipt of grants, as a Gaeltacht area, that the change should be accepted therefore.

But local councillor Seamus Cosai Fitzgerald has objected.

“No one knew about this. This came in without consultation,” he said. And changing directional signs would not make more people speak Irish.

“The Minister did not even get the Irish version right. It’s not An Daingean: it’s Daingean Ui Chuis. Daingean is in County Offaly,” Cllr Fitzgerald added.

Last night the Minister said locals could call the town “Beverly Hills, or Baile Fungi” - after Dingle Bay’s famous dolphin - if they wanted to. “That is their business,” he said.

The Minister said nobody raised a problem about the name change after the commission issued its findings in 2003.

Under the change, An Daingean would be used as the placename for the town in Acts of the Oireachtas, large-scale Ordnance Survey maps and road-signs.

However, Dingle would continue to be used alongside An Daingean in the road maps used by drivers and tourists: “The AA and others don’t have a problem with any of this,” he said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News