When is it right to 'dename'?

It was recently announced that Trinity College Dublin will 'dename' its Berkeley Library, because of the links to slavery of its current namesake, the 18th century philosopher George Berkeley.

The news has sparked renewed debate about when it is right to change the historic name of a building or institution, with Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole arguing, for example, that the dozen or so GAA clubs named after 19th century Irish nationalist John Mitchel rename themselves, also due to Mitchel's support for slavery and his trenchant racism.

But once we start renaming things, how far should we go? When is it necessary and when is it simply impractical? And why was John Mitchel such a racist, anyway?

Fintan O'Toole talks to Bernice Harrison.

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