It is “really positive” that a Dublin hotel will not be renamed after a British earl and advocate of slavery, a Green Party councillor has said.
The Westin Hotel on Westmoreland Street has undergone a €10 million renovation and was due to be renamed after the city centre street it is located on.
Westmoreland Street is named after John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland, who served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1790 and 1794.
Although not a slave owner himself, Westmorland was a defender of the practice and argued against its abolition in the British House of Lords in 1799.
After public backlash against the plans, the hotel has now decided to rebrand as the College Green Hotel instead.
“We are very excited to adopt the College Green Hotel as our new brand and are grateful to those who shared their views,” the hotel said in a statement.
“It feels right for us and for our patrons, both now and for the future.”
Green Party Cllr Janet Horner has previously called for an audit of all the street names in Dublin – arguing that many of our streets should be renamed.
“I think it is high time that we are being a little bit more thoughtful and mindful of the names that we give the city,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“I think we really need to be more considerate in how we choose those names and certainly to add a name to the street whose legacy includes the defence of slavery would be inappropriate.”
Many streets in Dublin have been renamed in the years since Ireland broke free from British rule.
With that in mind, Cllr Hornet said renaming Westmoreland Street could not be ruled out as part “of a much larger process”.
“For example, Parnell Street, which we know and are very familiar with today, was once Great Britain Street and the decision was made by Dublin Corporation to change that,” she said.
“So, there certainly is a time and a place where the Corporation has always looked at names and said, ‘Actually, that’s not appropriate for who we are as a country.’”
In April, Trinity College announced its Berkley Library would be renamed because George Berkeley owned slaves - something they described as “inconsistent with the university’s core values.”
The hotel will take on its new name at the end of the year.
Main image: Westmoreland street and the Westin Hotel. Picture by: Alamy.com