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Kempten - Sligo Twinning

Background

Mr Paul Byrne, County Manager at the time, presented a report to members of Sligo Borough Council  detailing the background to the twinning of Sligo and Kempten, in accordance with the Charter of the United Towns Organisation. Mr Byrne  explained that he first met Dr. Josef Hoss, the Lord Mayor of Kempten, in March 1988, when Mr. Hoss was on a private visit to Ireland, with members of his family.

During his short social visit, Dr. Hoss indicated that his city was already twinned with cities in France, Italy, and Hungary and he considered that the Council in Kempten would be interested in discussions with an English speaking city in Europe.

Because Irish missionaries were involved in bringing Christianity to Kempten and the Allgau Region of Bavaria, Dr. Hoss considered an Irish city would be attractive to the Council and citizens of Kempten.

Following his short meeting with Dr. Hoss, Mr. Byrne received a letter from the Kempten Lord Mayor in 1988, indicating that he proposed to send a small delegation from Kempten representing the Council, a Town Twinning representative and the President of Kempten Regional College, together with the Town Clerk of Kempten.

At a monthly meeting of the Borough Council in May, 1988, Mr. Byrne advised all the members present that an exploratory delegation from Kempten intended to visit Sligo on the weekend of June 3rd to June 6th to explore the possibility of twinning with Sligo.

Through the offices of the then Mayor, Alderman John Harrison, and with the assistance of members of the German sub-committee of the Town Twinning Committee and officers from the Donegal-Leitrim-Sligo Tourism Organisation, a number of visits and tours were organised for the Kempten visitors during their weekend in Sligo.

The Mayor accorded a Civic Reception to the Kempten delegation during their visit in June which all members of the Council and representatives of various groups and organisations within the town were invited.

A dinner was held at which the Mayor presided and all members of the Council were advised by letter of the arrangements for this function. During the course of this function, Dr. Hoss indicated that he and the delegation wished to have an opportunity to visit City Hall in order to learn something of the role and functions of Sligo Corporation and the range of social, educational, economic and leisure activities carried out by the Council.

During this informal meeting between a short overall report surveying the history and geography of Sligo City and County, the electoral system, the role and functions of Sligo Corporation, the range of services provided by the Local Authority and the method of financing the services was delivered.

Questions were also asked and answered as to Sligo’s experience in regard to the Twinning with Crozon and how relationships between various interest groups in both towns had grown since the twinning took place.

Before the delegation left Sligo, the Mayor presented a written summary and, through the kind assistance of Dr. Karl Bodeker, had it translated into German for the Kempten delegation.

In late August the county Manager was advised by Dr. Hoss that the Council in Kempten wished to invite the present Mayor, the former Mayor, the Chairman of Sligo Town Twinning, representatives from the Sligo Regional Technical College and the County Manager to visit Kempten on an exploratory trip in the late autumn.