Tralee signs twin deal with Palestinian town

Simon Brouder

Monday marked an historic day for Tralee with the county capital beginning a twinning arrangement with the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour.

The twinning - which has been in the works since mid 2018 - is the first time an Irish town has been twinned with a town in Palestine.

Last June, councillors on Kerry County Council backed a motion from Sinn Féin Cllr Pa Daly proposing the twinning deal, which passed unopposed.

It was subsequently approved by the members of the Tralee Municipal District Council.

Since Cllr Daly's motion was passed both sides have been engaged in negotiations over how best to formalise the future relationship between the two towns.

These talks came to a successful conclusion on Monday when Mayor of Tralee Cllr Graham Spring and Mayor of Beit Sahour Jehad Khair signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a twinning relationship between Tralee and Beit Sahour.

The signing ceremony - which took place at Kerry County Council's chambers at County Buildings in Rathass on Monday - was also attended by Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Ireland Ahmad Abdelrazek.

To celebrate the twinning agreement and to welcome the Palestinian delegation to Tralee, the Kerry branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (KIPSC) organised a public event on Monday evening at Kerins O'Rahillys GAA Club in Tralee.

The speakers at the event included the Mayor of Beit Sahour and fellow Beit Sahour Council Representatives, as well as Tralee Sinn Féin Councillor Pa Daly and the National Chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Presentations were made to the Palestinian delegates with a large number of members of the public on hand to watch the proceedings.

The Chair of KISPC John Loughrey, said it was a great honour for the Kerry branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign to host the delegation after such an historic event.

"We would like to thank Cllr Pa Daly for putting forward the twinning motion and the members of Kerry County Council for supporting it," he said.

"The event was an important addition to the delegation's visit, and gave local people the opportunity to learn about life under occupation in Palestine, and to show solidarity with the delegation," said Mr Loughrey told The Kerryman.