Mayor of Formigine Maria Costi and then-Mayor of Kilkenny Patrick O' Neill.
A formal ‘twinning’ between Kilkenny City and the north Italian town of Formigine could take place in May next year, local councillors have heard.
A ‘friendship agreement’ between the two was signed last year. In May, a delegation from Kilkenny including local councillors and officials visited Formigine, which has a similiar population size to the Marble City.
At a recent meeting of the Kilkenny City Municipal District, Cllr Malcolm Noonan, who was part of the recent visit to Formigine, said the trips were worthwhile. The delegation brought a number of local food and drink products with them, such as from Highbank Orchard and Costellos Brewery, for their hosts to sample.
“The key thing for members on twinning trip is not just the certificate on the wall,”said Cllr Noonan.
“This can have a very positive knock-on effect for social and economic benefits. It is important we continue that engagement.”
Then-mayor Patrick O' Neill, who also visited Formigine, said there was a bit of cynicism around twinning sometimes, but there was potential at present for a lot of exciting projects. He said that a designated member of council staff that can work on the issue of twinning might make things more efficient.
“As councillors, it can be hard for us to push it over the line,” he said.
“But they are beneficial to both communities.”
Director of services Tim Butler said he concurred with a lot of the comments. However, he noted, there was no specific funds set aside for it. He said it was important to get the benefit – economic, social – out of such arrangements, but a budget was needed for it.
Cllr Sean Tyrrell wondered how many people were encouraged to visit as a result of twinning arrangements.
Cllr O' Neill responded that nearly everyone in Moret-sur-Loing has been to Kilkenny at this stage. Cllr Tyrrell also suggested that local schools could be encouraged to consider twinned towns as possible school tour locations.