The Permanent Secretary at the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) Peter May has confirmed that ‘Londonderry’ will be preferred to ‘Derry’ on road signs along the new A6 Drumahoe to Dungiven dualling scheme.
This is in spite of Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan personally petitoning DfI to request both versions of the city’s name be included side by side.
Mr. Durkan wrote to the department suggesting the inclusion of two iterations of Derry - one with and one without the ‘London’ prefix - would discourage vandalism.
It would also enlighten tourists mystified by Derry’s dual nominal personality, he argued.
“Historically there has been an issue with vandalism of road signs along this, and other, routes, that bear the name ‘Londonderry’,” he wrote.
“Of course, the naming of my native city has been and will remain a contentious issue. It is with this in mind that I am writing to establish if there is any impediment to including ‘Derry’ on any new signs.
“I am proposing that ‘Derry’ appear alongside, rather than instead of,’Londonderry’. Not only would this recognise the name by which most of her inhabitants call their city but it could also eradicate the vandalism issue. Furthermore, it would also get rid of confusion experienced by tourists, particularly as road signs in the Republic bear ‘Derry’.”
Mr. May, however, replying in the absence of a minister, said ‘Londonderry’ was DfI’s preferred option.
“The Department’s policy states that ‘primary destinations are generally established on existing signs and the primary destination already used should be the starting point when designing new or replacement signs’. This ensures that there is consistency across the road network. In this case the name ‘Londonderry’ is already on existing signs and therefore it is this name that will be used along the new A6 Drumahoe to Dungiven dualling scheme.”