Doire to be added to Guildhall branding while exhibition retains UK prefix

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Councillors in Derry yesterday voted to add the Irish name of the city to corporate branding of the soon to be re-opened Guildhall and to retain the UK prefix of the City of Culture title in the building’s Plantation exhibition.

The DUP’s Maurice Devenney asked for the matter of the Guildhall’s branding to be discussed publicly despite originally being scheduled to be debated behind closed doors at yesterday’s meeting.

His party, he said, had concerns over the use of the name Derry in the postal address, and the inclusion of the Irish name Doire in the building’s branding that is already set to include both Derry and Londonderry.

Meanwhile it further transpired that Sinn Fein had concerns with plans to include the term ‘UK City of Culture’ in a timeline to be included in the Guildhall’s Plantation exhibition.

Council officials advised that it has been policy to use the term ‘Derry’ as address since 2003 while councillors voted to include the term Doire on the branding, despite the Unionist bloc voting against the proposal.

“Sinn Fein felt Doire should be included in terms of the history of the city and the large number of people here that see Irish as their culture,” Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming said.

It was further agreed that the ‘UK City of Culture ‘ term would be included in the Plantation exhibition after both the SDLP and Unionist blocs voted in favour of the motion.

A further proposal to see the establishment of a working group to ensure the Guildhall is reflective of everyone in the city was also put forward by Sinn Fein and passed unanimously.

But the DUP’s Joe Miller warned it must operate within “defined remits”.

He said there were fears among Unionists that the group could be used as a vehicle to further “take the Britishness out of the Guildhall.”

SDLP Councillor Gerard Diver said the working group would ensure the Guildhall would reflect all communities in the city.

The Guildhall is due to re-open in late May.