Seamus McKinney
Irish News

Nationalist members of Derry City Council will be generous towards
unionists in their interpretation of the city's name, once the High
Court confirms the official name of the city is Derry and not
Londonderry, it has been claimed.

The Derry/Londonderry saga was raised at a meeting of the city
council yesterday Thursday.

DUP East Derry MP Gregory Campbell proposed that a council working
party be set up to see if it was possible to obtain cross-community
support on the issue.

His motion was defeated by 19 votes to three.

Mr Campbell said it was now 20 years since the city council voted to
drop London from its official name and a recent composite motion on
the issue demanded that government departments take their lead from
the title used in correspondence by people contacting them.

He said such an approach should also be adopted by the council for
unionists who write to it and such issues could be dealt with in a
working party.

Earlier this week, a senior barrister advised the council – in an
interim report – that by changing the name of the council the
authority may also have legally changed the name of the city in 1984.

His views are to be delivered in a full report in three weeks' time.

It is understood the barrister's advice will then be tested at
Belfast High Court.

Opposing Mr Campbell's motion SDLP councillor John Kerr, above, said
it would be inappropriate to set up a working party before
councillors had seen the final legal report.

He was supported by Barney O'Hagan of Sinn Féin who said it was a
disgrace the council was still forced to discuss "this
carbuncle 'London'".

Mr O'Hagan said that once the legal opinion had been tested and
accepted by the High Court, nationalists would show great generosity
to their unionist neighbours on the name issue.

He said it was an historical fact that Derry had a link with London
and this should be recognised "in some way or other".

However, Mr Campbell said this was unacceptable. He said there was
belief in 1984 that unionists would come to accept the new name of
the council but they looked on the decision to change the name as
an "insult" and "triumphalist".

July 24, 2004

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