“Equality Commission strongly advise Derry City Council not to proceed”

The BBC reports the NI Equality Commission’s response to Derry City Council’s “Equality Impact Assessment of the Resolution to make application to the Privy Council to have the name of the City changed from Londonderry to Derry”. Equality Commission report [pdf file]

It is the Commission’s view that good relations in this instance have been insufficiently addressed by the Council.

From the Equality Commission report [pdf file]

5. Conclusion

5.1 The Commission appreciates that Derry City Council wishes to promote and develop the City and the region. This aim however must not be pursued at the expense of good relations and community cohesion.

The EQIA analysis and report does not convince the Commission that the policy currently proposed by the Council is the appropriate way to achieve its aim.

5.2 It is the Commission’s view that good relations in this instance have been insufficiently addressed by the Council.

In the light of the serious adverse impacts on people of different religion/political belief within the Council area, and possibly for the region as a whole, the Equality Commission strongly advise Derry City Council not to proceed with the policy as it is currently proposed since a range of possible options has not been adequately considered and a significant amount of good relations work remains to be done before any official name change is considered. The Council should demonstrate that every possible effort has been made to mitigate any adverse impacts identified by the EQIA process.

And it’s worth highlighting this section of the Equality Commission report

3.1 Aim of the policy

3.1.1 The Council states that the aim of the proposed policy is to “change the name of the City to reflect the needs of this City for a single, clear identity and to reflect the wishes of the vast majority of the citizens, while respecting the views of all sections of the community”.

3.1.2 The consultation document also identifies the Council’s stated objectives as

· reflecting the needs of this city for a single clear identity and
· reflecting the wishes of the vast majority of citizens.

These objectives are the basis on which the Council rests its view of the proposed name change. ( see p 80)

3.1.3 The Commission recognises that a clear and agreed decision about the naming of the second city of Northern Ireland will be very difficult to achieve in a situation where there is no consensus, especially when the issues are sensitive and deeply divisive. However, the Commission is of the view that these difficulties are compounded by the objectives chosen by the Council.

3.1.4 There is further confusion added by the fact that the Council’s stated objectives and the aims of the policy are different in a significant way. Even within the policy aims there is a real conflict to the extent that it is virtually impossible to reconcile the differences between them. The stated objectives of the Council, which appear to be the yardstick against which the Council measures any approach to its proposal, pose an even more fundamental problem as they make no provision for taking into account the views of those who are not part of the majority. [added emphasis]

3.1.5 This inconsistency and, it might be said, mutual exclusivity involved, represent a serious weakness in the EQIA and do not provide a basis on which satisfactory conclusions can be built.

3.1.6 Moreover, we would stress that while it is often important that policies have wide public support, policy-making should not simply be about reflecting the wishes of the majority. This approach has the potential to convert the EQIA process into a quasi referendum which runs contrary to the spirit of the legislation. One of the main aims of the EQIA process, as clearly outlined in the statute, is to ensure that adequate consideration is given to mitigating the adverse impact of policies on different sections of the community, so that the needs and wishes of those likely to be adversely affected are not overlooked.

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  • kensei watch

    Circles???

    Submit word “later”.

  • danielmoran

    Democratic….msg 3
    from where i’m sitting, it dosn’t look as if those who are campaigning to change the name, are bothered about people using whatever name they normally use in everyday life, so it’s really about stopping the unionists using the ‘london as a way of telling the majority nats, ‘you might have all the political control in the city, but you’re still in a british city’ and some of the local unionists [especially campbell] are mean spirited enough for that. if that aspect were missing, i’m not sure this change would be sought so much.
    another words it’s plain old political posturing for it’s own sake on both sides.

  • Heidi Concorran

    Love to see Nationalists squirm on this one. Having stuffed the Equality Commission with their gang it’s not toeing the partyline.

    The same response is observed when the Parades Commission allows those pesky Prods to march.

    I mean what is the world coming to when your own pets turn and bite you on the bum?

  • foreign correspondent

    Look, the bottom line is, 75% plus of the people of Derry use that name and prefer it to Londonderry.
    Say that the name was changed but as previously mentioned keeping Londonderry for the part inside the walls, could the naysayers say exactly what would be wrong with that compromise? The more I think about it, the more I see that as a win-win situation. Those who don’t agree, tell me, why not?

  • danielmoran

    horseman…. msg 17
    The campaign run by campbell after the renaming of the city council back in 1984 is a guide to how this one could turn out. He organised a boycott of council chambers in the guildhall which lasted some months, until it sank in with him that his core voters saw it for what it was [political posturing]. campbell quietly abandoned the boycott and arranged meetings and rallies, which attracted dozens of people from his own community. He seems to have managed to get roughly the same number in a meeting a fortnight ago.
    the council name change then was cleared by chris patten [this AND the renaming of the ruc must have the more paranoid duppers sticking pins in dolls that resemble patten].
    the point is that n.ireland for unionists MUST have a unionist majority, however slim, otherwise it’s whole raison d’etre goes out the window.
    they know the tide is quickly going out on their 1922 gerrymandered 2-1 fix, and that whitehall would never allow repartition. also, as thatcher told them in blunt language at the time of the anglo irish aggreement, full integration with britain is a non runner. so what’s left?
    after 45 years of sectarian statelet up until ’68
    it’s hard to have any sympathy with them now.
    sorry this has been so long winded.

  • Gertntfe

    The last thing unionists want, or need, is Republicans’ “sympathy”. We just enjoy the doublespeak and laugh at the concept of the ‘Ireland of Equals’ and wonder when the pigs will climb the ladder and add in the rest of the strapline – ‘….. but some are more equal than others’.

    I’m in my late thirties now and have been hearing about the “tide going out” for as long as I can remember, but hey, whatever helps the croppies sleep better at night. I suppose if I lived in some of their sh*tholes I’d want a dream too to get me by.

  • barnshee

    “whitehall would never allow repartition”

    LOL –we have it already– the dozen or so prods on the city side will disappear de facto will become de jure and there will be fuck all anyone can do about it.

    How they must regret ignoring headbanger (bill) craigs wish to abandon the city side in 1968

  • danielmoran

    In the earlier post, i should have specified that it was aimed at the unionist estabishment and parties since partition, and not unionists generally, which i cocede it appeared to target.
    an important distinction.

  • Briso

    How they must regret ignoring headbanger (bill) craigs wish to abandon the city side in 1968

    Posted by barnshee on Sep 25, 2009 @ 05:59 PM

    The BBC abandoned it years ago. Take a look at Angie’s weather map and see where the border goes.

  • gmac

    I urge the Council to take this advice. They risk the anger of the Lumpen Proletariat who have been disrupting recent Police Liaison meetings but the city fathers can be assured that the life span of these creatures from the primeval soup is short lived and their impact on our lives is very limited.

  • Brit

    “And RS – No we dont want the word Derry in the name of “the best city in the world”TM. Theres only one London.”

    Actually theres quite a few Brit.

    I didnt mean it literally but in the sense that “theres only one Keano” as sung by Man U fans and, following Roys retirement, by Spurs fans.