THE Wicklow St Patrick’s Day Committee and the Town Twinning Committee have agreed to join forces to strengthen the links with twin towns in Germany, France and Wales.
Twinning aims to help to develop a better understanding of other nationalities and cultures. In addition to educational, cultural and sporting exchanges, partnerships with international communities have led to lifelong friendships, and to business exchanges and commercial opportunities.
Wicklow District is twinned with Eichenzell in Germany, Montigny-Le-Bretonneux in France and Porthmadog in Wales.
A delegation from Eichenzell visited Wicklow town for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, and invited members of the St Patrick’s Day Committee over to Germany in June to partake in the 200th birthday celebrations of the Fulda district.
On their return, the Committee members gave a presentation to Wicklow Municipal District in July, when it was decided to establish a committee to forge closer ties with Wicklow’s twin towns.
Speaking at last Monday’s meeting of Wicklow Municipal District, the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Paul O’Brien, said a meeting between both groups was held the prior Wednesday, and they both agreed to come together as the one body.
“A date for December 14 has been set for the AGM and after that it’s up to them to take it over. Work is taking place in the background, and they are examining different sporting and education mixes. Students in Wicklow taking German classes could link up with a Zoom pal in Eichenzell,” said Cllr O’Brien.
He added that he had also been invited over to Eichenzell for October 20, and it was his understanding that the invitation was open to all the elected members.
Cllr John Snell was disappointed not have been able to attend the meeting because of the short notice for which it was organised.
“We were all very interested but the meeting was called very hastily. In the end it took place by Zoom, and if I had known that I probably would have been able to attend.
“In the years past some of us felt that the town twinning had gone a bit stale and we weren’t getting any regular reports. We wanted to get this new impetus off on the right foot, but also involving us six councillors.
“There is funding there for twinning and it’s tax payers money. We need to be able to stand over every decision made. Collectively it’s money we have to account for.”
Cllr Shay Cullen was a recent visitor to Wurzburg as part of a Wicklow County Council delegation, and during the trip he also paid a visit to Eichenzell.
“To be honest I was a little bit embarrassed at the way they looked after us. Usually on St Patrick’s Day in Wicklow we see them briefly on the float, and then go our separate ways. I’d like sure for the next St Patrick’s Day visit that we have an itinerary organised in advance of the parade to show them what our own District has to offer, such as Glendalough and Kilmacurragh. Let’s show off what we have.”