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Committee calls for Greater use of Townland Names

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 18 January 2010

Reference: CAL 04/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee has asked government departments to lead by example and start using townland names in their addresses.

The Committee has recently written to all government departments, MLAs and to the Assembly Commission, to ask that they include the townland in their official addresses. If accepted, this would mean that the Assembly’s new address would be Stormont Estate, Ballymiscaw, Belfast. Ballymiscaw means “townland of the fort of the shadows”.

Barry McElduff MLA, the Committee Chairperson said: “We are asking government to take the lead on this issue and actively preserve and promote townland names by adopting them into their official addresses. This would be a significant step in terms of raising the profile of townlands and recognizing how valued they are by many people.
“We hope that this initiative will be taken on board by elected representatives and will lead to townland names finding their way back into popular usage.”

Mr McElduff, who is from the townland of Aghagogan (“field where giddy headed people congregate”), continued: “It is important not only to preserve townland names but to actively promote them within local communities. Townland names are in the common ownership of the entire community and all traditions. Everyone shares a great passion for them and they are an important part of our shared heritage.”

This latest move reflects the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee’s ongoing commitment to bring townland names back into popular usage. In June 2009, the Committee organised a major seminar at Parliament Buildings to promote and raise awareness of townland names which was attended by a range of experts and enthusiasts.

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