TWO of Kilkenny’s former mayors, who are both current members of the county council, will not be attending an event on Monday at which Kilkenny will formally twin with a Chinese city.
Councillors Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) and Betty Manning (FG) have both said they will not be in attendance at the ceremony, where a memorandum of understanding will be signed between Hukiu and Kilkenny city and borough councils. The Chinese delegation, led by Ms Wang Aixian, will give a presentation on their home city, and will then undertake a tour of some notable Kilkenny landmarks.
Cllrs Noonan and Manning have emphasised that their decision not to attend is not a boycott. Both have expressed misgivings in the past over issues such as China’s record on human rights.
“This is not a boycott, but it is on foot of concerns I would have,” said Cllr Noonan.
“I voiced those concerns at council meetings in the past, and they were not taken into consideration in the wording of the agreement.”
County Manager Joe Crockett said that the twinning has been in the works for a long time now.
“We have been linking with the Chinese embassy here and representatives in Suzhou for the past two years,” he said.
“We have reached an agreement and it was put to both councils and passed.”
The twinning ceremony takes place on Monday morning at 11am in the Great Hall of Kilkenny Castle. For more, see page 13.