Londonderry ruling cited by man puzzled over name

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A concerned citizen of Greater Belfast has cited Justice Weatherup’s ruling that the local government district, city and county of Londonderry are three separate entities in querying whether or not officials have invented a new metropolis called ‘Lisburn and Castlereagh City.’

A bemused Gordon Lamb has been asking the Department of the Environment (DoE), the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and the Department of Regional Development (DRD) if Lisburn, granted city status by the Queen in 2002, absorbed a few Belfast suburbs in a land grab after the establishment of the new Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

Writing to the DoE, Mr Lamb explained that he had been puzzled by some new signs erected by his local authority.

“The signage in question states ‘Welcome to Lisburn and Castlereagh city.’ This would suggest that the name of the city previously known as ‘Lisburn’ has been changed to ‘Lisburn and Castlereagh.’”

But as everyone in Londonderry knows a city council and city status granted by Royal Charter are not the same thing.

Mr Lamb also knows this and quoted from Justice Weatherup’s controversial ruling of 2007 regarding the name of Londonderry.

He rejected an application by the seemingly never-ending Derry City Council of 2005-2011 “that the change of name from Londonderry City Council to Derry City Council under the Change of District Name (Londonderry) Order (Northern Ireland 1984 had the effect of changing the name of the city specified in the 1662 Charter from Londonderry to Derry.”

In his Judicial Review ruling he stated: “Further I reject the applicant’s argument that the Department is obliged to exercise powers under section 134(1) of the Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act 1972 to modify the 1662 Charter to change the name of the city from Londonderry to Derry or that the Department is otherwise obliged to effect that name change.”

He explained that to change the name of the city a council would have to ask the Queen and her Privy Council to do so.

Otherwise the London Government would have to introduce new legislation in order to change the name.

“To achieve the name change desired by the applicant it is necessary to alter the 1662 Charter by the further exercise of the Prerogative or by legislation,” was Justice Weatherup’s view.

The new Derry City and Strabane District Council recently wrote to DoE Minister Mark H Durkan, seeking clarification on changing the city’s name to Derry.

He will write back explaining the above if he has not already done so.