Petitioning Chief Executive of the Derry City Council John Kelpie

Change the name of Derry

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There are 107,000 people in Derry City; out of these, over 95% are Nationalists. The very few Loyalists that do live in Derry are on the borders of the city. Every Nationalist refers to Derry as Derry, and the Loyalists as Londonderry. There have been compromises, such as "L'Derry" and "Stroke City", but if the majority of the people believe it should be Derry then the name ought to be Derry. The name "Londonderry" causes social and political problems, reminds victims of the atrocities that have been committed there, causes problems identifying the city and is against what the people of Derry wish. The debate has been going for centuries. It's 2015 now, and it's time to make it official what the name is.

         Firstly, as I'm sure most people know, there are many issues regarding the name "Londonderry". As I've stated before, the majority of Derry City's people are Nationalists. Yet, the road signs still refer to Derry as Londonderry, so the "London" reference in the name has been sprayed out in many of the local street signs. This shows that the people are offended by the name and don't want the name to be associated with them. Again, if the majority of people are speaking out, why is the government denying them? Furthermore, despite merging with Tyrone on the first of April, the council of Derry is called the Derry City and Strabane District Council. Why would you name the council of the city a separate name than the city itself? Surely, if the council is called Derry, then the city should be called Derry? The name of the council was changed due to the majority of people wanting it, as they thought the name was a reference to the English occupation in Derry.

          The name is a constant reminder to the families of the victims involved in incidents in Derry caused by the British occupation, therefore constantly reminding the families of the incidents. For example, on the thirtieth of January 1972, as many Derrymen may recall, the British army opened fire on protesters in Derry City for protesting against them. Thirteen were killed; out of these, nine were under the age of eighteen. Another died months later from injuries that he received that day, and a further fourteen were shot and injured. This happened within Derry City, and now the people are forced to be reminded of this tragedy by the name of the city? Moreover, this could be compared to Burma in South East Asia. The original name was Burma, but then a military group took hold of the country and renamed it into Myanmar. Despite Derry once being controlled by a military group, the British now have less of a grasp on Derry and so it should be called Derry officially.

         One could also argue that the two different names could cause confusion in identification. In the South of Ireland, the road signs constantly refer to it as Derry or Doire but never "Londonderry". In the Occupied Six Counties, the road signs refer to Derry as "Londonderry" unless the "London" reference has been blotted out with paint. If a tourist were travelling across Ireland, looking for Derry and were to go from the South into the North, then when they were confronted with a road sign saying "Londonderry", being unfamiliar with the issue regarding the name, they may believe it to be another city. Also, seldom is the name "Londonderry" ever heard in regular conversation. Even Loyalists and Englishmen tend to find that "Londonderry" is a mouthful, and use Derry as it's shorter. Also, in Co. Donegal, not far from Derry city, is the town of Edinderry. The same way that someone might confuse Londonderry and Derry as two separate cities, it's possible that someone might mistake Edinderry for Derry City and believe it to be another issue regarding the name. If we have two names for our city, then why wouldn't Edinderry be confused with Derry?

          Finally, and perhaps the most important reason to change it, is because the people of Derry want it to be Derry. As I've stated in the first paragraph, 95% of Derry are nationalists and thus they would want it to be called Derry. As I've also stated, some Loyalists continue to refer to it as Derry. That would mean that the vast majority, if not all, of Derry want it to be called Derry and refer to it as Derry. Even if, in the end, the majority of Derry citizens do not want the name to change, it would still be close enough to be called to a vote.

          So, due to the issues regarding the name Londonderry, the violence that it reminds the locals of, the problems that people may find attempting to go to the city and the fact that the people of Derry want a name change, the City of Derry should be officially called Derry, and not "Londonderry". Why should it still be called Londonderry?

 

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This petition will be delivered to:
  • Chief Executive of the Derry City Council
    John Kelpie

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