SKIBBEREEN Chamber of Commerce is to receive a €2,000 grant to help defray the cost of sending some of its representatives to Scituate in Massachusetts.
The town, which is located midway between Boston and Plymouth, signed a friendship agreement with the West Cork Municipal District in December 2016.
Scituate also sent a delegation to visit places of interest throughout West Cork and last April, they signed a twinning charter at Skibbereen Heritage Centre.
Now, members of the Municipal District are keen to take up the offer of a return visit to Scituate in October and they want to include representatives from other local organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce.
Although there are numerous benefits to twinning, Municipal Officer, Justin England, said it was agreed that the initial areas of common interest would focus on ‘food, arts and culture’ and that when these areas are established they could diversify to include sports and educational exchanges.
Two chefs from the Scituate area are scheduled to visit in September to participate in A Taste of West Cork Food Festival and an artist exchange is being planned for Spring 2019. The Scituate delegation is also keen to arrange a garden club exchange.
Mr England said the relationship could be enhanced through youth exchanges, as well as the fact that it has many shared commonalities like the fact that it is a coastal town, is popular with tourists, has a marina, and lots of coastal-based activities.
In the long-term, Mr England said the twinning could become a partnership to promote economic development in both Scituate and West Cork.
The twinning with Scituate is already off to a good start, according to Cllr Paul Hayes (SF): ‘They really enjoyed their visit and were delighted to get such a warm and genuine welcome.’
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said it was great that West Cork was twinned with a place as beautiful and well situated as Scituate.
She said their social and economic ties would ‘be of benefit to all of West Cork.’
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) – who had pinned his colours to the mast from the outset and made no bones about his determination to travel to Boston – suggested: ‘It would be the height of bad manners if we didn’t accept their invitation to go in October.’
When the chairman Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) pointed out that the All-Ireland road bowls finals are to be held in Boston in September, Cllr Carroll pipped up: ‘I bowled in Boston before.’
But his friend Cllr Hegarty was having none of it. She corrected him saying: ‘Joe was bold in Boston before.’