SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan says he is disappointed that the Department for For Infrastructure (DfI) has turned down his request to include both “Derry” and “Londonderry” on new road signs to the city.
With the construction of the new A6 road Mr Durkan said that new road signage would be needed and wrote to the department asking that they consider including both names on all new road signs going forward.
“The naming of my native city has been and will remain a contentious issue. It is with this mind I am writing to establish if there is any impediment to including Derry on any new signs?” he wrote.
“I am proposing that ‘Derry’ appear alongside, rather than instead of, ‘Londonderry’. Not only would this recognise the name by which most of her inhabitants call their city but it could also eradicate the vandalism issue.
“Furthermore, it would also get rid of confusion experienced by tourists, particularly as road signs in the Republic bear ‘Derry’.”
In a response to Mr Durkan, DfI permanent secretary Peter May said that the issue would generally be dealt with by a minister.
“The department’s policy states that ‘primary destinations are generally established on existing signs that the primary destination already used should be the starting point when designing new or replacement signs,” he said.
“This ensures that there is consistency right across the road network.”
Mr May said the new signs would only bear the name of Londonderry.
“In this case the name Londonderry is already on existing signs and there it is the name that will be used along the new A6 Drumahoe to Dungiven dualling scheme,” the permanent secretary said.
Mr Durkan said he was disappointed at the decision from the department.
“I don’t want to become embroiled in the age old Derry/Londonderry row but feel the proposal is practical, prudent and politically sensitive,” the Foyle MLA said.
“Not a massive issue in the greater scheme of things (lets get more new roads, rail and jobs) but one that many people here care about.”Tags: