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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Court to rule on city name
What's in a name? Well quite a lot apparently in Northern Ireland's maiden city.

The question of whether the city should be officially known as either Londonderry or Derry is to be decided by a court of law.

Derry City Council has lodged papers in the High Court in Belfast to ask a judge to clear up the confusion.

Derry or Londonderry? A court is being asked to decide

The official name of the city is Londonderry but the council began the process of changing the name in 2003. That was despite objections from angry unionists.

The council passed a motion which said Londonderry should not be imposed as the official city name and everyone had the right to use the name with which they felt most comfortable.

William Hay of the Democratic Unionist Party said he would never accept Derry as the city's name.

"It's not about branding the name of the city. It's certainly all about stripping the Britishness away from the city," he said.

"It's all about ignoring the unionist community in the city and further isolating them.

"The historical name of the city and the proper name of the city is Londonderry. Now, I know in everyday language people would have used the name of Derry.

"You can't at the stroke of a pen remove hundreds of years of history. That's what Sinn Fein and the republican movement are trying to do. It's an issue that greatly hurts the unionist community."

No debate about the name in the nationalist Bogside
No debate about the name in the nationalist Bogside

However, Sinn Fein deny the proposed name change is an insult to unionists.

Sinn Fein's Paul Fleming said: "Everybody accepts that in everyday language the name of this city is Derry.

"Long before Sinn Fein brought a motion to Derry City Council, to a large number of people in this city, the name of this city was politicised.

"It certainly is not anti-Britishness.

"If the DUP choose to make an issue out of this, at the same time, as actually accepting that their constituents, along with the rest of the people of Derry, actually use the name Derry, then I think most fair-minded people could well make the case that it's the DUP who are politicising the name of the city."

The city also has other names. It is known as Stroke City - a shortened form of the diplomatic on-air phrase "Derry-stroke-Londonderry" used by BBC Radio Ulster's Gerry Anderson.

Trimble - city name change 'sectarian'
31 Jan 03 |  Northern Ireland
City renaming move causes anger
29 Jan 03 |  Northern Ireland
All in the name in Stroke City
01 Jan 03 |  Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein stokes 'Stroke City' row
21 Nov 02 |  Northern Ireland

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