Sister Cities project proposed for year of commemoration

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A proposed initiative for a Sister Cities project in 2016 has been met with doubts concerning the financial implications of the venture.

The issue was discussed at Monday’s meeting of the mayor and members of the Municipal District of Sligo where the plan, coinciding with the year of commemorations was outlined.

Director of Services Bartley Gavin explained that a programme is being put together in association with the Dublin City Council and they are currently organising a summit to take place over the course of two days next April.

While the idea was supported in theory, a source of funding proved to be the most pressing matter, with Independent Councillor Declan Bree citing the recent visit of a delegation from one of Sligo’s existing twin cities as an example of the financial problems facing the council in supporting the initiative.

“There was a delegation here from Kempten a few weeks ago and the Voluntary Committee were asked to fund it. In two-and-a-half decades on the council, I have never seen that happen,” he said.

“When any delegation comes here, we should be looking after them. Taking €2,000 out of the Voluntary Committee is too much.”

The relationship between Sligo and Tallahassee, the State capital of Florida who are at the forefront of the proposed plans was also brought in to question, but County Council Chief Executive

Ciaran Hayes insists the link between the cities still very much exists.

“The links are certainly there, but they need to be strengthened and overall I think this would be a welcome idea and would make Sligo more attractive to all of our twin cities.”

Mr Hayes has however admitted that there could be a lingering threat of financial uncertainty scuppering the proposals.

“There was a decision made that the sister and twin cities projects would continue, but if it is decided that our financial situation isn’t suitable to continue our relationships, it will be discussed at the next Full Council Meeting.”

The viability of the Sister Cities project is expected to be on the agenda for the September meeting of the County Council.

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