DCSIMG

Londonderry has its say on name change debacle

BELOW is just a selection of the strongly worded epistles received by the Sentinel from prominent members of the Protestant community in Londonderry angered at the local Council's attempt to airbrush its British identity from the city's naming conventions.

Suspension call welcomed

Sir

THE Foyle Association of the Ulster Unionist Party welcomes the recommendation by the Equality Commission that Derry City Council suspends its plans to seek a name change for the city.

In its extensive and measured response to the Equality Impact Assessment undertaken on behalf of Derry City Council, the UUP drew attention to the flaws in the process and the conclusions reflected in the document. The stance of the UUP now stands vindicated.

The debate on the name change is a community - relations issue and pursued at the present time will serve to further divide a divided society and detract from the real agenda of seeking to achieve economic and civic re-generation … for all.

In recent days when education has been dragged through the sectarian mud and controlled education in particular stigmatized by a media which has not covered itself in glory in its manner of reporting, communal division and tribal point -scoring has been laid bare.

If this city and community is to engage in a realistic healing process then we must seek to find ground for agreement and shelve our differences until such times as we can engage and deliberate on these without hurting each other in the destructive manner that is all too apparent.

Too many local leaders are content to merely react to the counter-culture and allow this to inform their policies and actions; more content to tear down rather than build-up.

The whole community would be better served and could look towards a better future in these economically difficult times if they would base their actions on timeless principles of responsible and accountable leadership.

Derry City Council has an opportunity to lead on this by responding positively to the recommendation of the Equality Commission. Indeed, it can go further by rescinding the motion pertaining to the name change and take the city forwards rather than backwards.

Terry Wright, Chairman, Foyle UUP

History lesson needed

Sir,

I believe the nationalist people of Londonderry, the council and their solictors need a history lesson.

First, the walls that were erected all those years ago and are there today were erected for thew protection of the Protestant and catholic people of that era against pageant marauders, pillaggers and enemies of the state. Bith churches asked England for help as the whole of ireland was under English rule at the time and so the crown was petitioned for money.

The merchants of London took up the challenge and erected the City Walls for both the Protestant and Catholic people. When the walls were finally finished both people and the churches asked the Crown to rename the City Londonderry in recognition of the work of the merchants of London. this action was not made by the English it was the Irish or British people of Derry.

So for the nationalist people and council to want to change the name Londonderry to Derry is because they don't know their history or they are all bigots and people around the world should be told this.

Also, since the 70's as the majority of the city was Catholic things changed and they rightfully gained control of the council. Nationalists always said 'let us share and respect other religious beliefs and traditions'; but clearly they only meant their pwn traditions and not those of the Protestant community.

How ironic the very thing the nationalist community fought for throughput the troubles was being given basic human rughts and equality are now being denied us, ie; our heritage and theirs.

DN Frazer

Name and address supplied

Has SDLP position now changed?

Sir,

I wonder why the SDLP position on petitioning the Queen to amend the Londonderry city name has changed since 1984? Would it be something to do with endeavouring to portray themselves as Republican as Sinn Fein/ IRA?

At the time of the Council name change in 1984, the SDLP majority group on the city council declared that they were not seeking to change the name of the city, as it had no intention of 'petitioning an English Queen to change the name of our Irish city'. ('Protest at 'Derry' name switch', The Times, 25 January 1984).

Perhaps some of the present SDLP Councillors will inform those of us who oppose the name change, why their position has changed from that of 1984?

Regards,

William Houston, Londonderry.

Royal City of Derry?

Sir

There is the proposal by Professor Kennedy that Londonderry should be renamed as Londondoire. Why not go all the way and gaellicize it as Londaindoire? Such nonsense could only come from a university professor.

Properly understood the name of the County and City of Londonderry can only be changed by an act of parliament.

An appropriate act would be The National Government of Ireland Act. In this the County and City of Londonderry could be renamed as Derry but Protestants would see this as a victory for Catholics. A compromise could the renaming of the County and City of Londonderry in the act as the Royal County and Royal City of Derry. In Irish that would be An Condae Roga agus an Cathair Roga Doire. That could be a compromise acceptable to both sides and wouldn't concede a victory to either.

Michael Gillespie, Derry

Campaign is commended

Sir,

THE City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge would like to take this opportunity to commend the work carried out by the local community, in collecting almost 7,500 signatures in opposition to the proposed change to the Cities name from Londonderry to Derry, handed to the Deputy Town Clerk, John Meehan, on September 11.

This issue has shown that there are very deep feelings within the community, and the citizens have united to firmly show their opposition to the change.

The City Grand would like to thank all the members of the community who took their time to gather the signatures and more importantly thank the citizens of Londonderry for publically showing their feelings of opposition.

The general thoughts of the local Orange Institution are that this is seen as another attempt to further alienate the protestant community, break our historical tie with London and remove our British identity. We in the City Grand Lodge fully support the actions of the local community leaders and support them in their actions of gathering the signatures from the citizens, and await the results of the equality impact assessment, hoping that the thoughts of a minority community will be listened to.

Yours,

The members of the City Grand Orange Lodge.

Name and address supplied.

 
 
 

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