A Tale Of Two Irelands

A depressing report in the Irish Times:

‘THE LONG-RUNNING controversy over what to call the popular Co Kerry tourist destination known variously as “Dingle”, “An Daingean” and “Daingean Uí Chúis” looks set to be finally resolved through legislation.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signalled his intention to propose an amendment to the Environment Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2011 that will give official status to the English “Dingle” and Irish “Daingean Uí Chúis”, while “An Daingean” is to be dropped.

The official name of Dingle was changed to An Daingean in 2005 by the then minister Éamon Ó Cuív of Fianna Fáil under the Official Languages Act.

The English language version then ceased to have legal force and as a result could not be used on road signage, ordnance survey maps or in legislation.

In 2006, Kerry County Council held a plebiscite under the Local Government Act 1946 on a proposal to change the name to “Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis”, which was passed.

The council applied for an order to change the name, but it proved not to be possible because the Attorney General had advised that the local government code could not be used to change the name of a place already subject to a placenames order, as was the case with “An Daingean”.

“To resolve the issue, the previous government decided to legislate for the use of the names ‘Dingle’ and ‘Daingean Uí Chúis’, in tandem, by way of amendments to the placenames provisions in the local government code,” Mr Hogan said.

Mr Hogan said that in future any proposal adopted by a local authority to change a placename must specify the proposed name in Irish only or in English and in Irish.

Mr Hogan said an important aspect of the new provisions was that they would give greater recognition to the Irish language in every case where placename changes are proposed.

The proposed legislation will provide that a placename change under local government law will supersede an order under the Official Languages Act 2003 and the impact of the 2004 Placenames Order, as it applies to “An Daingean”, will be undone.’

All of which can be read as yet another in a long line of victories for the English-speaking community in Ireland, putting their views and wishes ahead of the Irish-speaking community – even one that is a local majority.

An Daingean is the main town of the Corca Dhuibhne Irish-speaking area or Gaeltacht in this part of County Kerry but over the years it has become increasingly Anglicized to the point where Irish is now rarely heard in its environs. In order to help in the reversal of that process and restore the town’s status as the main urban heart of the Irish language community in the region it was officially returned to its Irish name, An Daingean, from the Anglicized version, Dingle in 2004.  However considerable opposition from the entrenched Anglophone community in the area, with powerful connections in the political and business spheres, thwarted that process, hence the sickening news today.

Despite the words of Minister Hogan, that he will give ‘give official status to the English “Dingle” and Irish “Daingean Uí Chúis”, while “An Daingean” is to be dropped’ there is very little doubt that it will be the Irish language name, in either version, that will be dropped. The claim that the legislation will give ‘greater recognition to the Irish language in every case where placename changes are proposed’, is clearly ridiculous when the influence of the Anglophone community in Ireland is so pervasive and unassailable.

In Ireland, it would seem, we aren’t even allowed to use our own language in the names of our own towns and cities, regions and localities, but instead we must use the bastardized Anglicizations of colonial invaders. The colonized have become the colonists.

How sad. And how Irish.

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