Killarney risks losing twinning status over lack of visits abroad

TOP tourist town Killarney is at risk of losing visitors and “being dropped as a twin” as its town councillors are not going abroad often enough.

The Kerry town has twinning links with centres from France to Sweden to Sicily and the United States. However, four councillors are now to set off to Concord in the US to make amends in the first of a planned number of visits abroad, the town council has decided.

The town’s oldest twin is Castiglione in Sicily and it also has relations with Staffanstorp in Sweden, Pleinfeld in Germany, Kendal in Britain and St Avertin in France.

It also has a “sister city” relationship with four cities in the US.

Drama groups from the French town are regular visitors to Killarney while 36 people from the active retirement group in Staffonstorp visited this summer. Parliamentarians from Bavaria arrived from Pleinfeld and Bavarian mayors are to visit next year, according to a report circulated to councillors and the press.

However, these ties need nurturing in the way of return visits, and Killarney’s US “relatives” are not seeing enough of the town’s councillors, it was claimed.

“We have not had an exchange visit with any of our sister cities in years and invitations have been received from both Concord and Myrtle Beach to send a delegation from Killarney,” the report stated.

The returns were “obvious” in the way of marketing the town and there was always the opportunity to attract industrialists, Mayor Sean Counihan said.

Donal Grady, Independent, spoke of the embarrassment of welcoming people who could not understand why there were no return visits.

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