SHANNON has been awarded the European Diploma of the Council of Europe in recognition of the town’s efforts to promote the ideal of European unity.
Clare TD Michael McNamara is a member of the Council of Europe and he said the town has a distinguished record in promoting European unity through its twinning with Guingamp in Brittany, which goes back to the early 1990s.
“I would like to congratulate Councillor Tony McMahon of Shannon Town Council and Pat Costello of the Shannon Twinning Committee for their work on this project,” he said.
Councillor McMahon said Mr McNamara had made him aware of the competition. “Michael McNamara made me aware that such a prize was available and I discussed it with the town clerk and the chairman of the Twinning Association, Pat Costello, who put forward the main application outlining the value of it together. In conjunction with the town clerk, that was submitted and we were delighted that an award was won.”
Pat Costello outlined the type of information that had to be provided. “We had to submit a resume of our activities in terms of the relationship we have with our fellows in Brittany, give details of what has happened over the last 21 years and the type of activities we were engaged in; the visits and the cultural exchanges and all the things that went on. Essentially that is what we were asked for.”
He said the committee are kept busy. “We are starting to fundraise in a limited way. It’s a very small organisation and the funding we raise is used for the twinning visits and so forth. We’ll be preparing for a visit next year and in terms of activity, we are engaged with an organisation in Brittany that is supporting an exchange with the Clare Youth Service and is working on a European project on citizenship there. Part of that involves a commitment from the town council to support the project on a mentoring basis. We’d be very much part of that.”
He said Shannon Town Council has been supportive of the twinning effort over the years. “The award, while it’s a great thing to happen, what’s most important is that it reflects well on Shannon and its community and the potential the town has to extend itself. That to me would be the most important thing. It couldn’t be done without the support of the town council.”
The initial approach regarding a twinning was made by four representatives from Guingamp, when in 1990 they paid a one-day visit to Shannon. Later that year, a small delegation from Shannon went to Guingamp and in 1991, the official twinning charter was signed. The major distinguishing feature of it was that it was a twinning of communities, as opposed to town councils.
There is now a visit each way between the towns once every three years.