Thursday, 14 January 2010

Place-Name Project to Close by End of Month

The Blether Region has learnt that as a result of the package of cuts drawn up by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and subsequently accepted by the Minister of Finance and Personnel, the renowned Northern Ireland Place-Name Project has been threatened with closure and its staff with redundancy.

The project's online database on the history of the 9,600 townland names of Northern Ireland was recently made available by Land and Property Services / OSNI at

A member of the project said "it still needs a lot of editing and additions, which we wonder if we will ever achieve, being under threat of redundancy from QUB by the end of this month, unless we bring in more funding."

According to sources, the closure decision was taken by university administrators after the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure refused to match-fund the relatively modest sum of £50,000 offered by the Southern Government.

The project was one of the first Irish-language initiatives to be funded by the Northern Ireland Office, as it was non-controversial and had considerable cross-community potential.

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