On a visit to the west Kerry Gaeltacht town yesterday Mr Ó Cuív said attempts to change the name back to Dingle would have no legal standing, no matter what the outcome of the plebiscite being organised by Kerry Co Council.
This was because a Gaeltacht town could not have an English name, under the Official Languages Act 2003, he stated.
“The advice from the Office of the Attorney General was that the 1946 Act is superseded by the Official Languages Act,” he said.
Mr Ó Cuív’s forthright stance was strongly criticised.
John Moriarty, chairman of Dingle International Promotions, said compulsory Irish, even in the Gaeltacht, had for long not been an option.
“It’s a pity our Minster for the Gaeltacht can’t see how we have moved from crossroads dancing promoted by his grandfather to a great, multi-cultural society and stop pushing his Irish-only road signs down our bilingual throats,” Mr Moriarty said.
The minister also said he was shocked at the attitude of the media and of some Oireachtas members.
“These people would be the first to cry out if I broke the law.
“As a minister, I must take the advice of the Attorney General,” Mr Ó Cuív said.
Fears have been expressed in Dingle that the town would lose valuable State grants if it was excluded from the Gaeltacht in an upcoming review of Gaeltacht boundaries.
Mr Ó Cuív pointed out the Kerry Gaeltacht received more than €2 million a year from his department and a further €2m from Údarás na Gaeltachta.
He also announced grants for projects at Coláiste Íde near Dingle, (€75,000) and the villages of An Gleann and Baile an Fheirtearaigh, which are to share €35,400 in the village enhancement scheme.
Over €100,000 in grants for Gaeltacht roads in Kerry was also announced.