Vote needed to change NRA spelling of towns in Clare

Friday, March 11, 2016

Six Clare towns with the incorrect spelling of their names on official signage for the past five years, will have to hold a public vote before the mistakes can be corrected by Clare County Council.

Ordinate Survey Ireland (OSI) has confirmed that a plebiscite, similar to the one which took place in Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis in 2006, would be needed before any changes can be addressed.

This issue arose in 2011 when Transport Infrastructure Ireland, formerly the NRA, updated all the signage on the N67 route, using the historical legal names for the towns and not the names in local and official use for the past 100 years.

This led to signage for major tourist towns such as Ballyvaughan, Ennistymon, and Lahinch being changed to read Ballyvaghan, Ennistimon and Lehinch.

In a letter to Clare County Council this week, OSI said it was obliged to use the official English version of a placename as listed in the original name book.

This confirmation comes months after unidentified locals in Lahinch took it upon themselves to alter more than a dozen signs in the area — changing Lehinch to the traditional Lahinch spelling. These changes were later reversed by Clare County Council.

Fine Gael councillor Mary Howard has urged the council to take direct action to resolve the situation, which she says is having an impact on local businesses.

“We need common sense to prevail here. Depending on what direction you enter some towns from at the moment, you get a different spelling. This is a very simple problem to solve, Clare County Council need to take the initiative here, we can set up a simple database and work from there.”

A council spokesperson said the local authority was already fulfilling its function regarding the naming of towns.