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Correcting Clare place name signs could require public vote

CHANGING misspellings on signs around North Clare could actually require a plebiscite of locals, this week’s meeting of Kilrush and Ennistymon Municipal District Councillors heard.

Those erecting signs with the incorrect spellings are taking their interpretation from the Ordnance Survey map of 1914, the meeting was told.

Green Party Councillor Liam Grant put forward a motion asking for the correct spellings to be introduced.

“I am calling on the West Clare MD to change the road signage for Lahinch, Ennistymon, Corofin and other towns to the previously used and most preferred spelling.

“I realise this issue has been raised in the past so I would also like an update on any progress made and if any funding has been secured.

“These are tourist towns, and the names form a very strong part of the brand. We had thousands of visitors attending the Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club greeted by road signs reading
‘Lehinch’. It’s confusing and damaging for the town.” 

Councillor Grant described himself as a proud Lahinch man and said he gets “very frustrated every time I drive by the road signs”.

He said that a group of what he called vigilantes had made changes to them before, and that he had been pleased to see them make corrections. 

A written reply to the motion from John O’Malley of the Council executive stated, “This was previously discussed at the Physical Development Strategic Policy Committee.

“It was outlined that the process required to change a name commenced with the approval of the full Council to hold a Plebiscite of “qualified electors” (the statutory procedure is set out in the Local Government Act 1946, The Local Government (Changing of Placenames) Regulations 1956 as amended by Section 67 of the Local Government Act1994).”

The reply added, “There is a cost involved because of the necessity to change signage.

“This would also require the co-operation of the TII as signs on national roads are erected by that body. The TII use the spellings of the place names as found in the Gazetteer of Ireland.

“The West Clare MD will now ask the Physical Directorate to prepare costings and discuss with TII possibility of funding/ making provision in budget 2022.

“We will also liaise with General Design and Planning in terms of defining the settlement areas and preparing the necessary maps for compiling the list of qualified electors.”
Director of Services Leonard Cleary said that the place names are taken from the Ordnance Survey of 1914.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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