Corca Dhuibhne is on the map after local election fear

‘Corca Dhuibhne’ is on the map after John Paul Phelan, the junior local government minister signed a statutory instrument to change how the electoral area in west Kerry is referred to in the upcoming local elections.

A row broke out after it was realised that the name for Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis, a part of a new seven-seater municipal district was to be called An Daingean — the name of a town in Co Offaly.

Already, local electoral areas in Kerry are undergoing huge changes in May’s local elections.

An interactive map has been launched by the council to help voters cope with the revised boundaries changes, the second major boundary changes in five years in the county.

Under the 2014 boundaries, Kerry had the largest municipal districts in the country in geographical terms.

The South and West Kerry Electoral Area used to run across three peninsulas and a number of mountain ranges and took in four large towns — Kenmare, Cahersiveen, Killorglin, and Dingle.

The new boundaries will divide that district. However, there were massive objections after it was realised the name for the new area was not the official name, but one rejected by the people of West Kerry.

Local Fine Gael councillor Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald wrote to Mr Phelan asking for a name change and the council backed him.

Mr Cosaí Fitzgerald drew the minister’s attention to the fact the name An Daingean did not exist in the area and said he feared for the validity of the election.

There was widespread shock in west Kerry in 2005/2006 when the 700-year-old name, Dingle, was officially removed under the Placenames Order of the Irish Languages Act introduced by the then minister, Éamon Ó Cuív, and replaced with An Daingean.

A plebiscite was called and resulted in an overwhelming vote for the double barrel bilingual named Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis. However, it was 2013 before Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis appeared on official maps and signs as road signs had to be made bigger.

Mr Cosaí Fitzgerald said: “The placename An Daingean no longer exists.”

He said the reintroduction of An Daingean is “inflaming” what had been a very divisive situation once again and reigniting a row that took years to resolve. The wrong place name could threaten the election too, he said.

“My fear is after May 24 [the date of the local election] the legitimacy of the election could be questioned,” he added.

Mr Phelan has now removed “An Daingean” and has ordered under Statutory Instrument No 157 of 2019 that he is substituting that name with the compromise “Corca Dhuibhne”, the name of the clan from whom the people of west Kerry derive.

The new municipal district is to be called Castleisland-Corca Dhuibhne.

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