Another petition to change name of Londonderry would be to Foster

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If nationalists and republicans plan a rerun of their 2009 aborted application to the Queen’s Privy Council to have the London-prefix officially removed from Londonderry, they will be petitioning Arlene Foster, who has been newly appointed to the rarified assembly.

Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland officially approved a recommendation to appoint the First Minister to the Privy Council this week.

It means any rerun of the last bid to change the name of the city from Londonderry to Derry is likely to fall on at least two unsympathetic ears.

Back in 2009 republicans and nationalists controversially considered petitioning the Privy Council to change the official name of the city from Londonderry to Derry.

The proposed bid eventually collapsed in 2010 when Sinn Féin and the SDLP failed to agree on whether to go ahead and proceed with the petition or to establish a working group to look into the matter further.

Needless to say, unionist in the city were affronted by the manoeuvre.

Last year unionists again reacted with anger and disappointment to another Sinn Féin call for Derry City and Strabane District Council to write to the former Department of the Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, seeking clarification on changing the city’s name to Derry.

Unionist anger over the name change saga stems from the fact that the city very much remains Londonderry from a legal perspective regardless of common usage.

Derry officially became Londonderry when King James I granted a Royal Charter on March 29, 1613.

The Charter was briefly annulled by King Charles I, renewed by Oliver Cromwell, re-granted by King Charles II in 1662, then cancelled and restored under King James II in 1687.

To change the name of the city of Londonderry an applicant would have to alter the 1662 Charter, either by asking Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to do so, through her Privy Council, or by legislating for a name change at Westminster.