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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dingle/Daingean - I'd dangle Eamon O'Cuiv!

The whole Dingle / Daingean debacle is a disgrace and Eamon O'Cuiv is a bigot. The majority of residents and councillors in Dingle have on the whole, understandably, disagreed with Mr. O'Cuiv's obliteration of the name Dingle from signposts in their Gaeltacht area. The Dingle Name website gives all the background to the issue.

"In March 2005, Minister Eamon O’ Cuiv brought in The Placenames Order, which has the powers of the 2002 Official Languages Act behind it ...........The 2005 Order decreed that the English language version of a placename is no longer permissible in Acts of the Oireachtas, Statutory Instruments, Land Registry and Ordinance Survey maps and Local Authority signposts both within and without the Gaeltacht. "
(c) www.dinglename.com

Aside from the discontent felt by those living in Dingle the fact that a government minister has the gall to decree that the language which is everyday language of the vast majority of the Irish population is no longer allowed to used for Gaelatacht placenames in official documents and signposts is beyond belief.

This is not an Irish versus English language argument, nor am I having a go at Gaeltacht areas or their residents. Simply put, the fact that I, as a native English (Hiberno-English to be precise) speaker and taxpayer, am no longer entitled to see placenames on signposts with any English on them in certain parts of the country is an outrage. Understandably Gaeltacht natives want to protect their heritage and some may prefer no English on the signposts in their area. However, dual signing is required in all other parts of the country and those of us who do not, or indeed choose not, to speak Irish are entitled to the same rights as native Irish speakers. Certainly make the English smaller, less prominent than the Irish as is done with Irish on English signposting but for God's sake have some respect for the vast majority of the population's first language.

Mr. O'Cuiv would do well to remember that speaking the Irish language is not a pre-requisite to being Irish!

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Photo (c) http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2003/12/15/story125717.asp


Anonymous said...

This is from about 10 days ago ... though it might interest you.

Tackling the myths of An Daingean

I really must take issue with the myths repeated yet again in the letter 'Dingle's identity' (April 12).

Firstly, I did consult extensively before making the Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2004. The order was made on December 21, 2004, and contains 2,319 placenames from all the Gaeltacht areas in the country.

I arranged for a draft of this order to be published and a press release issued on the matter to all media before the summer of 2004, so that the views of the people of the Gaeltacht could be taken into account before it was made.

A copy was also made available to the relevant county councils. Raidio na Gaeltachta facilitated a lively consultation process on its airwaves over the summer months and 24 submissions in writing were received relating to the draft order.

The submissions were presented to the Placenames Commission and some amendments were made to the order based on these. The order was then revised and presented for my signature reflecting the revised advice of An Coimisiun Logainmneacha.

Secondly, signposts within the Gaeltacht area, of which An Daingean/Dingle is a part, have shown the Irish placename only since 1970. In practical terms all the order does is to bring signposts outside the Gaeltacht into line with this standard.

No credible explanation has been put forward to show how tourists were not confused by the previous system which had An Daingean on signposts in the town and surrounding area, but bilingual versions on signposts outside that area, with maps in English only. Neither is there a reasonable explanation for how they will supposedly be confused now, with An Daingean only on all signposts and tourist maps in both languages.

Thirdly, I have not rejected the authentic pre-Norman name Dingle. The argument that the pre-Norman Irish-speaking inhabitants of the area named it in English is a novel one. Irish was the language there then and it is still spoken in the area today. Neither have I rejected Daingean Ui Chuis. The Placenames Commission recommended 'An Daingean' as the authentic name of the area in Irish as far back as 1960.

The Placenames Order follows that long-accepted advice. Had I done otherwise, I would have been open to fair criticism. An Daingean has been used by the county council on road signage since then with no objections from anyone living in the area, as far as I am aware, over the past 35 or so years: that is, until now.

Fourthly, it is equally untrue to say that Dingle is removed from all official national maps. In fact, the outcome of the order for tourist maps is the exact opposite.

Ordnance Survey Ireland have assured my department that all new tourist maps published by them show both the placename and the English translation of the placename in Gaeltacht areas. These maps are widely available.

The main private companies in the map publishing business - Collins and the AA - have indicated to my department that they will ensure that new tourist maps and other literature to be published by them will also show both language versions henceforth.

Fifthly, this order will not harm the local tourism industry. The order has no implications whatsoever for the use of Dingle as a brand name, or for tourism marketing purposes, or on signs other than local authority road and street signs. That said, there is a serious point to be made about the future of tourism in a Gaeltacht area such as West Kerry.

The public use of and pride in our language does not detract from the tourist's enjoyment of a holiday there. Quite the opposite, in fact. A sense of history and culture adds to the enjoyment of a holiday in any country.
Eamon O Cuiv TD
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs


Curly K said...

Thank you Maca, interesting quote, where is it taken from?

The Dingle/Daingean debate was really the opener to the post, the real point of my post was to discuss the fact that Irish citizens outside the Gaeltacht areas were not considered in the whole process; "so that the views of the people of the Gaeltacht could be taken into account before it was made"

Also, even if prior to the order many signs in the Gaeltacht had only Irish names as claimed above, the fact that there is now a statutory order removing English from the signs is an absolute disgrace; it simply makes official Mr. O'Cuiv's disregard for those of us who don't speak Irish - rubber stamping his bigotry!

Anonymous said...

I think it was from the Indo via Gaelport. I'll find the link if you want it.

Not 100% sure I agree there. The legislation affects only Gaeltacht areas so I don't think those of us outside the Gaeltacht needed to be consulted.
As for having the signs in Irish only, as an English speaker I have no problem with that, but bilingual signs would definitly be more logical.


Curly K said...

I know what you are saying Maca but to be fair, in all other things to do with infrastructure and other developments within this country all citizens including those living in Gaeltacht areas are considered. I just think that as an English language speaker and taxpayer I too am entitled to be able to travel around this beautiful country of ours and be able to get where I am going by reading the signposts in my first language, not having to translate things into a language that has nothing to do with my daily life.

I really do find the lack of English on signposts an insult to me and those others in this country who don't feel that having Irish is a necessity to being Irish.

Paige A Harrison said...

Curly K, my but you've got yourself into a fine lather over this. Well done to you!

Ever been to Roma, Venezia or Firenze and thought strange how they don't change their names to Rome, Venice and Florence for the convenience of the non-Italian tourist? We even expect our US visitors to Dublin to understand that buses go Via An Lar. (A strange combination of latin & gaelige)


Curly K said...

You got it Paige, this is one subject that really, really riles me!

When I travel to Italy I don't expect signs in anything other than Italian, it's the language of the country - I just expect the same courtesy in my own country and not state-backed bigotry towards those of us who first language is English :-)

(I did say it really riles me!!)

Omaniblog said...

Keep it up. Don't lose any of that anger. We need it. I agree with your every word on this.
Isn't there a cottage industry driving this policy?

Curly K said...

Omani, don't know about a cottage industry but Mr. O'Cuiv and his fellow bigots certainly don't think much about those whose native language is English (majority of people in the bloody country!)

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to this post... but I don't get what the big deal is about. Most people who complain seem to do so for, am, er, I'm not sure... Is it that transition from Dingle to An Daingean is just too taxing for their brains?

What is disappointing to read is that everybody seems to be concerned about themselves and how this impacts them today. I wish that people would take a longer term view of this. English was forced on the population of Ireland and we have 2 choices (1) accept it or (2) begin the first steps of reclaiming our language and heritage. It may take a 100 years but we have to begin somewhere. The Israelis did it wtih Hebrew and we should have the confidence to do it with our own language. So, think of your children and your grand-children... I would prefer that they inherit a country confident in its own language and heritage rather than living in the shadow of other English speaking countries.

The Gombeen Man said...

In case you hadn't realised (last anonymous poster), this is the 21st century.

I am Irish, but don't feel any need to genuflect before your linguistic orthodoxy. The Irish a a mix of Celts, Norse, Normans, Anglo-Saxons, and God knows what else.

English or Hiberno-English is my language of the vast majority of Irish. Hiberno-Norse was widely spoken in Dublin... should that be revived too?

The Gaelic revival came about as a 'cultural' lever for the emerging Irish ruling class to use as an argument for independence in the early part of the last century. Despite 80-odd years of compulsion it is less widely spoken than it was in the 1920s. In fact, it is more an industry than an actual language, kept going by small minded bigots like O'Cuiv and you - reactionaries who want to 'return' to an idealised, mythical view of Irishness. I'm an English speaker, an internationalist and proud.

Keep up the good work Curly K!

For more on O'Cuiv and CSO figures of Irish speakers see here -


Fionnán said...

In fairness, the fact that you consistently cannot spell Ó Cuív doesn't exactly inspire confidence in your ability to grasp less basic aspects of this.

Dave in Cork said...

Just spent two very pleasant days in Dingle and spoke with many local people, some of whom are traders. I heard that the placenames order had been lifted, but I don't know if that is true. Does anybody else know if it is? If it is, then the local authority should get its act together and re-paint the name Dingle on the sign posts. I learned that non-Irish speaking tourists just do not get the An Daingean thing. Even if the place name as Gaeilge started with the letter D, they would have some chance. One trader commented to me that the obliteration of the word Dingle from sign posts was the most efficient thing she had seen done in Co. Kerry, as it started within hours of the order being announced. Not so with the re-painting of the signs. One guy doing table service in a restaurant spoke with an American tourist this week. The tourist said that he liked the town, but wanted to drive on to Dingle now!

The Gombeen Man said...

Fionnán said...

In fairness, the fact that you consistently cannot spell Ó Cuív doesn't exactly inspire confidence in your ability to grasp less basic aspects of this.

The fact that I did not insert your precious fadas in O'Cuivs name does not invalidate my points - no more than leaving out an umlaut in German would detract from the thrust of an argument.

But that's exactly the sort of small-minded, petty, stupid comment I'd expect from someone like you.