Highland Council yesterday dismissed reports that the name of Skye is to disappear this week to be replaced by its Gaelic name, Eilean a' Cheò.

The council moved to reassure the public and wider business community that the name of Skye would remain after its service centre received hundreds of telephone calls yesterday expressing concern at media coverage which claimed the new name, pronounced "ellan-uh-cheeyaw", will be formally adopted on Thursday when local authority elections are held.

A statement issued by the council yesterday said: "Eilean a' Cheò is one of 22 multi-member wards, which have been created as the result of the move to voting in The Highland Council election on Thursday by proportional representation, using the single transferable vote.

"It covers the islands of Skye and Raasay and has a population of 9600 and will be represented by four councillors. Eilean a' Cheò is simply the name of the electoral division. Many places in the Highlands are known by their English and Gaelic names, such as Portree (Port Righ)." The statement added: "Eilean a' Cheò was recommended by Skye and Lochalsh councillors as the name for the new electoral division and approved by the full council in September 2005, to reflect the importance of Gaelic on Skye.

"The council has also identified names for another 21 multi-member wards, which range from North West and Central Sutherland and Landward Caithness to Fort William and Ardnamurchan and Aird and Loch Ness.

"There is no intention to change road signage or literature. The island will continue to be referred to as Skye. Skye will remain on the tourist map and we don't envisage any problems for tourists who want to come to the area to sample its scenery, culture and heritage and perhaps find out more about Gaelic."