PLACE NAMES ISSUE HAS RESONANCE THROUGHOUT CELTIC WORLD
English place names will no longer be legally recognised and cannot
be used in future parliamentary Acts, on any road and street signs
or on Ordnance Survey Maps in the Gaeltacht following new legislation
which came into force on October 30th in Ireland.
More than 60 years after Irish was officially named the primary national
language, the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv, has initiated
the move which gives Gaelic legal standing to Irish place names in
Announcing the move the Minister highlighted the inconsistent translations
which certain names were given after being changed into English during
He went on to say that it was "unacceptable" that although place names
in Irish were treated as if official, they had no actual recognition
The issue of place names and signage has a resonance throughout all
the Celtic countries. When the first stirring of the Manx language
revival occurred in the 1970s a small but significant step to ensuring
'visibility' for the Manx language was the initiation of a campaign
for Manx road signs and place names. Successful then the policy slipped
for a time but has shown a recent resurgence.
Similarly in Wales an extremely effective campaign for Welsh language
signs only was used as the springboard for more significant direct
action campaigns in a strategy the Welsh Language Movement continues
to this day with its programme to ensure businesses in Wales feature
the language more prominently.