Under S.189 of the Local Government Act, 2001 the Town Council may by resolution, adopted by at least one-half of the members, make a proposal to change the name of the town.
This proposal, after been notified to prescribed persons and published inviting submissions within two months and after the submissions have been considered (reserved function), may be adopted or amended by the Town Council provided at least one-half of the members again consent.
Where proposal is accepted or amended the Town Council must then seek the consent of the majority of the qualified electors (i.e. registered voters and certain occupiers of rated hereditaments) in the town. When the proposal is confirmed by a majority of the electors the Cathaoirleach (Chairman) of the Council shall declare such new name and the date it comes into operation being the 1st January next following the expiration of at least three months from the date of the declaration. Each declaration must be published, including in Iris Oifigiuil, and sent to prescribed persons.
A previous provision under an Act of 1946 as amended in 1955 required the Council to apply to the Government to change the name after obtaining consent of four-sevenths of the ratepayers of the town and after the Council of the relevant county agreed. An earlier provisions of 1898 did not require the consent of the ratepayers.
Among the place names changed under the old provision of 1898 was 'Queenstown' in County Cork to 'Cobh' and under the 1946 provision were:-
'An Uaimh' town, in County Meath, to 'Navan'(1971);
'Ceanannus Mór' town, in County Meath, to 'Kells' (1993).
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© MP McConnon, MC Research Service, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland
Last update 29 August 2011.