Mayor Aengus O’Rourke (FF ) has suggested Athlone engage in a new twinning arrangement with a city overseas.
Twinning is increasingly being used around the world to form strategic commercial, tourism, educational and economic links that encourage interaction between the town entities.
Athlone has been twinned with Chateaubriand in France for the past 23 years. Mayor O’Rourke said he has no desire to see this relationship broken, but rather would like to add another city to the mix.
The mayor called for a more dynamic twinning in terms of the links established with a new location. He said that Athlone is the business capital of the midlands and any new relationship should reflect this standing. He added that a committee should be formed to investigate possibilities and called on the public to also have their say.
Cllr Michael O’Brien (Ind ) supported the call. He acknowledged the benefits Athlone has gotten from its relationship with Chateaubriand, but said the council should be more ambitious in terns of the city chosen for any new arrangement.
Fianna Fáil councillor, Frankie Keena (FF ) commended the motion. He said Athlone can hold its head up high in terms of all it has to offer in such an arrangement. He added that it is important Athlone sells itself correctly, highlighting all of its best qualities.
Cllr John Dolan (FG ) said the proposal is something Athlone Institute of Technology will have a keen interest in, and that the institute may have some suggestions from the relationships it has already established overseas.
It was determined that a four person committee will be formed to investigate the possibilities further.