Call for council vote on ‘Derry’ name

The Guildhall.
The Guildhall.
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The local council has received a request for a public vote on installing ‘Derry’ as the official ly recognised name of the city.

The request has been made by the same person who is behind a Facebook campaign on the same issue.

Derry's Coat of Arms.

Derry's Coat of Arms.

The matter was expected to be raised at the full meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council in the Guildhall on Thursday evening.

Council chief executive John Kelpie received an e-mail requesting a voting poll for the people to decide on the official name.

This comes on the back of the Facebook petition, which was launched in May and has to date achieved support from over 1,500 people.

A Change.org online campaign entitled ‘Petitioning Chief Executive of the Derry City Council John Kelpie’ to ‘Change the name of Derry’ has also been launched, and can be accessed via the Facebook ‘Derry Not Londonderry Petition’ page .

The Change.org site states there are 107,000 people in Derry City and the vast majority are nationalist who refer to the city as Derry.

The petition states: “There have been compromises, such as L’Derry and Stroke City, but if the majority of the people believe it should be Derry then the name ought to be Derry.”

The petition states that the name ‘Londonderry’ causes social and political problems, and has negative connotations for many, while duality presents problems over its identity.

“The debate has been going for centuries. It’s 2015 now, and it’s time to make it official what the name is,” the online petition organiser states, adding: “Why would you name the council of the city a separate name than the city itself? Surely, if the council is called Derry, then the city should be called Derry?

“The name of the council was changed due to the majority of people wanting it, as they thought the name was a reference to the English occupation in Derry.”

Derry’s name has been contentious since the Plantation of Ulster when the prefix -London was attached to the city’s name by Royal Charter.

Derry’s history is known to date back to at least the 6th Century AD when St Columba’s monastic settlement is thought to have been established in what is now the upper city centre/ Long Tower area. Prior to the arrival of the planters, the city was recorded as ‘Derry’, ‘Daire’ or ‘Doire’ meaning Oak Grove in Irish.

The former Derry City Council has previously attempted to have the name of the city officially changed, but this proved unsuccessful.