Cork eyes formal links with Miami, Bordeaux and St Petersburg

Cork City Council is set to consider forging formal links with Miami, Bordeaux, and St Petersburg.

It follows an invitation to City Hall from the authorities in each of the three cities to consider exploring ways of deepening existing diplomatic, civic, cultural and education links between them.

The invitations have been discussed by the city council’s international relations committee, and a report has been prepared for discussion by full council next week.

The report recommends that councillors consider signing a memorandum of understanding for a defined period with each of the cities.

However, Lord Mayor Des Cahill said it is the start of a long process, and stressed that there is some way to go before full twinning links are even considered.

Cork is already twinned with Cologne, Swansea, Coventry, Shanghai, San Francisco, and Rennes.

The city’s Shanghai twinning link, which was a decade old last year, has been described by Asia Matters, Ireland’s only Asia think-tank, as the country’s best China-Ireland twinning link. But other twinning links have been less successful.

Following initial contact between City Hall and Bordeaux in 2013, an educational project involving the city council, CIT, and North Monastery Secondary School was arranged in recent weeks. The city has also hosted several delegations from St Petersburg.

Mr Cahill said there is a value in exploring new links with each of the three cities, and cited the Port of Cork’s existing sister port relationship with PortMiami — the world’s busiest cruise port.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald said it is important for Cork to examine new links with these cities.

He said Cork and St Petersburg are both part of the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities network and could learn from each other under more formal links.

“Cork has to reach out to the world to show what it can do,” he said. “And with US flights coming to Cork soon, links with Miami would provide us with another opportunity to promote the city.”

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