29/01/2003

Unionists angry over Maiden City name proposal

Unionists have reacted angrily to a nationalist motion in Derry City Council to begin a process of change to the city's name from Londonderry to Derry.

The proposal, which was passed last night, states that Londonderry should not be imposed as the official city name and everyone has the right to use the name they feel most comfortable with.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said there was a possibility that his party would have supported such a motion but for the fact that the SDLP and Sinn Fein were not prepared to delete a sentence "which presupposed a formal change in the name of the city".

He added: "They insisted it had to be kept in. That means, before you do any equality impact assessment or legal checks, you are going to change the name."

While Derry City Council uses Derry, Londonderry and Doire (the Irish name for Derry) to market the city, the local authority changed its name to Derry City Council in 1984, although the official name of the city has remained Londonderry ever since. The city's name, like any other in the UK, cannot be changed in law without an act of Parliament.

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