To Be or not to Be – that is the question. And now it’s official – it is to Be!
The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht has confirmed that the official placename for the Gaeltacht village on the western edge of Galway city is Bearna, and not Barna.
A spokesperson has confirmed that the anglicised version of the village, Barna, can no longer be used by Galway County Council when referring to it in official signage.
DAHG said Bearna is the official placename for road signs, as laid down in law.
The banning of the Barna version of the placename has been official policy for almost a decade.
But the debate has reared its head again in recent weeks and months as visitors to and residents of the village noticed new signage erected in Galway with the Irish-only version of Bearna.
Bearna, meaning ‘the gap’, is a breac-Gaeltacht, and so is covered by the controversial legislation that extinguished the English version of the area.
There was huge controversy in Kerry, when the English version of the town Dingle was dropped in favour of Daingean Uí Chúis, the Irish version, and subsequently An Daingean.
Residents of the town held a plebiscite in 2006, which showed the vast majority wanted Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis reinstated.
In 2013, they eventually got their wish and bilingual signs returned to the Kerry landscape with the name in both English and Irish.
In relation to the dropping of the name Barna from road signs, the Department spokesperson said: “With reference to the depiction of Barna/Bearna on road signs, that particular placename is covered by the Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order of 2004.
“This means, according to the Official Languages Act, 2003, that the English language version of the placename – Barna in this instance – no longer has ‘any force and effect . . . on a road or street sign erected by or on behalf of a local authority from the operative date.”
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.