IT’S a new year and a new start for the West Cork committee involved in developing twinning ties with Scituate in Massachusetts.
A group from Scituate were given a royal welcome when they visited West Cork last year to cement the twinning agreement. And a subsequent visit to the east coast town – which has a population of more than 18,000 and is located midway between Boston and Plymouth – was very much enjoyed by some of the members of the West Cork Municipal District and the Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce.
However, when the issue was raised at a meeting of the Municipal District in Skibbereen recently, there were some misgivings that West Cork could be doing more to foster links with Scituate. According to Cllr Paul Hayes (SF): ‘The group in Scituate is very eager to progress plans and there is a lot of stuff being organised for the year ahead.’
He said they are planning a schools’ exchange – details of which have yet to be ironed out – and lessons on how to play Irish musical instruments.
The American group also has plans to produce a cookbook and have asked for some traditional Irish recipes. The Sinn Féin councillor said: ‘They are even doing history lessons.’
With so many things going on at that side of the Atlantic, Cllr Hayes said the West Cork contingent could be a bit more proactive.
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) agreed: ‘We have been slightly remiss in how we have responded, given that they are so hugely enthusiastic.’
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG), who is one of the three council members on the West Cork sub-committee, pointed out that there is a group of about 20 people in Skibbereen who are keen to visit Scituate and Boston.
The American contingent had suggested visiting West Cork at Easter time, but with an election in the offing, the councillors politely put them off until June.
Municipal officer Justin England said the first trips were initially about food, culture and the arts, but it will, over time, be expanded to include school exchanges and sporting interests.