Mayor of Sligo Municipal District Councillor Hubert Keaney hosted a reception to honour a visiting delegation from Kempten, including their choir taking part in Sligo International Choral Festival, and young Business students who visited a number of local factories.
Special guests from Kempten honoured by Council
Also in attendance were Cathaoirleach Councillor Seamus Kilgannon, Chair of Sligo County Council’s Twinning Committee Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes, and President Dymphna Gorman and members of Sligo Town Twinning Committee.
In his address, Mayor Keaney welcomed the visit ‘as another important milestone in the very special friendship between Kempten and Sligo. Over the years of our association, the people of Kempten have been both welcome visitors and exceptional hosts, and this has been the foundation of our enduring association.
Kempten Choir in full voice in Council Chamber
The first contact between Kempten and Sligo involved a student exchange programme, and the networks and friendships established by that initiative provided the inspiration to develop other projects. The association was formalised with the signing of a Charter in Kempten in February 1990 and two months later in Sligo. The Charter expressed our shared ambition that ‘personal contacts be strengthened’ and focused on the important role to be played by young people in particular in fostering and nurturing this friendship.
In the quarter century since then, our association has developed at many levels. While the civic authorities have provided the formal basis for the twinning arrangement, it has been the inspiration and catalyst for many other excellent projects in the realms of education, culture, arts, music and tourism.
One of the highlights of our association is the networking between St Angela’s College and Kempten – from discussions around the feasibility of an Exchange Programme, a consensus evolved that there would be significant benefit from sharing the experiences and practices in our respective colleges.
Kempten students make a presentation to Mayor Councillor Hubert Keaney
The wider context of the Twinning programme is that allows a county on the north-western periphery of Europe to connect in a meaningful and dynamic way with friends from all over the world, and without doubt we have gained immeasurably from this experience. This particular visit embraces two other important facets of our association, culture and enterprise. The engagement with our local businesses will broaden our respective horizons, open up new avenues in terms of commerce, and establish an invaluable network of contacts to share and develop new business ideas and concepts.
Similarly, the participation of our friends from Kempten in our International Choral Festival is a major boost for our showcase event in our cultural calendar. By any measure we have been enriched by our friendship with the people of Kempten, it is an association I will continue to support and promote ,and I regard this particular programme as a model of its kind.’