A WEST Cork councillor has claimed Cork County Council has shafted Skibbereen in relation to a plan to twin the town with a coastal community in Boston.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) reacted angrily to the minutes of a previous meeting – one he had not attended – in which it was agreed that a town in Boston would be twinned with the Municipal District of West Cork.
Mac Dara O h-Icí of Cork County Council described the Municipal District as ‘the political entity’ and said that Skibbereen, as such, had none.
As the local authority, he said the Municipal District would do the meeting and greeting at the airport, as well as arranging a programme of events that would showcase ‘all of West Cork’.
But Joe Carroll was having none of it and practically insisted that the local authority go back to the drawing board on the issue.
Mac Dara O h-Icí said the issue would be further clarified following a visit by the Council’s chief executive and the Mayor to the town of Scituate in Boston in December.
Following the signing of a Friendship Pact, Mr O h-Icí said the format of the twinning could be decided by the members. Still Joe Carroll wasn’t pleased. ‘It was the Municipal District before you went out and now it is Cork County Council – it should be Skibbereen,’ he insisted.
The councillor said: ‘I am going to be left with a lot of egg on my face’ because he had already consulted with the town’s Chamber of Commerce about how best to develop the twinning of the two towns.
He said it was ‘ludicrous’ to suggest that Scituate – a town 26 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts, which has a year-round population of 18,886, and a summertime population of 30,000 – should twin with all of West Cork.
‘You are talking about an area from Courtmacsherry to Ardgroom,’ he said. ‘Sure, the people of Ardgroom don’t even sound like the people of Courtmacsherry.’
Clearly angry, the councillor asked: ‘Do we have to get people from County Hall to do a field study of West Cork to see how vast it is?’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said he had some sympathy with Cllr Carroll.
‘I did think they were looking for a connection with Skibbereen. It seems like a dictate came from on high to broaden the horizons,’ said the Sinn Féin Cllr.
Cllr Mary Hegarty said Bantry’s long-standing twinning association with La Crosse in America and Pont-l’Abbé in France was successful. And Kinsale has a good twinning network built up with Newport, Rhode Island.
However, Cllr Mary Hegarty said she thought the decision to twin with all of West Cork had its merits because ‘there are people from Bantry, Clonakilty and other West Cork towns in Boston’.