Town Twinning – December 1997

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A small group of people have been investigating the possibility of twinning the town of Athenry. This investigation began in May 1997, from the promptings of Fr.  Tony King P.P.

From this early stage the town of Loperhet in Brittany sent overtures and personnel to Athenry to initiate a possible twinning between the two towns.

As the Athenry group had no experience of twinning, contact was made with towns that had successfully twinned. Westport and Tuam were contacted, people involved spoke of the advantages of twinning, they also emphasised the ongoing work and responsibility involved with such an undertaking.

Contact was also made with the Institute of Public Administration, the Government body responsible for town twinning. This body processes the application for twinning and also advises on financial assistance for twinning.

An advisory package has been obtained from the IPA, this package outlines the steps to twinning and an application form.

An international seminar in Dublin, organised by the IPA, was attended.  Delegates from European countries, Britain and Northern Ireland attended.  Workshops on various aspects of twinning were attended.

All contacts emphasised the cultural, economic, social and personal advantages of twinning.  However, a number of towns were contacted where the twinning process failed after initial enthusiasm and success.

The investigating group believe a number of reasons could be given for twinning failures:

1 .   Lack of support from the local community – the twinning process may have involved very few people, once their enthusiasm ran out the initiative died.

2.    Incompatibility of the twinning towns -this may be as a result of the twinning towns not investigating thoroughly.

3.    Language barrier – some towns may twin with French, German towns, this may result in the twinning process becoming merely a school twinning process, it becomes too narrow in focus, thus defeating the total twinning process which should involve the whole community.

The investigating group believe the initial stage of investigation is now complete.

A number of questions now need to be answered:

Why twin?

Is the community of Athenry willing to twin?  Is there support for the initiative?

With what country should Athenry be looking for a twinning partner?  Twinning does not have to be with a mainland European country.

Who is going to be responsible for the day-to-day running of the twinning?

How much is the twinning going to cost?

Some initiatives need to be undertaken:

The formation of a wide based community group, the present investigating group do not believe they have the right or authority to make the major decisions that have to be made in relation to the twinning initiative.

The town of Loperhet are still interested in twinning with Athenry – a decision in relation to this town needs to be made, as they have made contact again this September.

If you are interested in this twinning project and are willing to become actively involved contact Gerry Doherty or Marie Gardner through the ADC office.

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About this record

Written by Anonymous

Published here 16 Feb 2023 and originally published December 1997

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