At a public meeting in the town on Wednesday evening last Templemore Town Council and a local twinning committee were given the 'green light' to proceed with a twinning process involving Premilhat in France, and Potenza Picena in Italy.
Representatives of various organisations and associations in the town and community leaders gave a ringing endorsement to a recommendation by the twinning committee to proceed with plans to 'twin' with both towns.
The Council and the twinning committe had decided to seek the views of the community at a public meeting in the light of fact finding visits last September to Premilhat and Potenza Picena following invitations by both European towns. Representatives of both towns had previously visited Templemore and were received by members of Templemore Town Council and local organisations.
Comprehensive reports of both delegations visits to Premilhat and Potenza Picena were given at a recent meeting of Templemore Town Council and after much debate it was agreed to seek public consultation on the question of taking up the invitations to 'twin' with both towns.
At the public meeting in the Templemore Arms Hotel last week Council Mayor Marcus Wilson, who chaired the meeting, gave a comprehensive report on the history surrounding the links between Templemore and both towns. He said that following visits by representatives from Premilhat and Potenza Picena the Council had decided to avail of invitations to both towns to engage in a fact finding exercise with a view to 'twinning.' Councillor's Jim O'Shea and Lily O'Brien were accompanied on the trip to Premilhat by Ms Mary Meagher, representing the schools, and Mr John Walsh, representing the local Traders Association. Subseqently, a delegation consisting of the Mayor, Cllr Joan Byrne, and Mr Liam Fogarty, representing the Traders Association visited Potenza Picena.
Mayor Wilson said that firm links were established with both towns and the reports from both delegations of their visits to the towns in question had been very well received by the twinning committee. The Council and the commitee had agreed to bring a recommendation on twinning with both towns to the public meeting where a question and answer forum could take place.
Mayor Wilson's view that twinning affords an 'opportunity for Templemore to reach out beyond the confines of the town' was echoed by seveal speakers at the meeting. They also shared his view that twinning allows an important forging of business, cultural and social links between the towns. Twinning would also create a network of exchanges between different cultures and was described by one speaker as 'an investment in the future of the town.' It was pointed out that while the cost of twinning with both towns is not excessive most of the money spent on the projects is recoverable from an European fund.
Practically every detail of the fact finding missions of both delegations to France and Italy were outlined to the meeting by members of both delegations and members of the public got a real flavour of the history, traditions, customs, and modern way of life, industrially, commercially and socially in both areas. Cllr Jim O'Shea and Cllr Joan Byrne gave eloquent and informative lengthy presentations with the assistance of videos featuring the history and customs of both towns and reams of literature featuring both areas were available to the public. Both councillors and colleagues on the respective deputations spoke of the overwhelming friendship, hospitality and kindness afforded them on their visits. The videos of both towns will go on public display in shop windows and anybody wishing to obtain any information regarding the towns can contact any member of the delegations concerned. Cllr O'Shea also pointed out that a website for Templemore, Templemore, is in the process of being finalised. Among those who wished the twinning committee well were members of Templemore Town Council and North Tipperary County Council.
With the public giving the 'green light' for the process and the twinning committee encouraged by “the cross section of interest” in the two projects details between all the parties involved will be finalised in 2004. Meanwhile, anybody willing to provide accommodation for visiting students from Premilhat next February are asked to contact teacher Ms Mary Meagher (0504) 31299, or Cllr Jim 0'Shea (087) 2073575.
A special guest at the public meeting was Mr George Dernowski of the International Police Association who was visiting the Garda College. He said he was very much looking forward to his visit and meeting the “nice friendly people of the area.” Before the meeting commenced a minute's silence was observed in memory of the Italian Police Officers killed in a car bomb explosion in Iraq.