District Mayor Martin
Lonergan has acknowledged the great work of the Friends of Clonmel in Peoria, Illinois in retaining and promoting an active partnership with the people of Clonmel.
On a recent visit to the United States he also praised the people of Peoria who continue to work with the Sister City Commission to promote and expand the relationship and educate people in the Peoria area about the cultural, educational and historical heritage of Clonmel.
The Mayor was speaking at a sold-out fundraising event in Peoria for the visit of Banna Chluain Meala to the region next year for July 4 celebrations. Jim Ardis, the Mayor of Peoria City and Jim Dillon, the Mayor of West Peoria, were present at the event.
He said it was a great honour that such a vibrant city in the United States would select Clonmel as a twin town, adding that the pact has grown into something of true value to both locations, while the potential for the relationship could be “vast” in the future.
“I believe the potential for economic benefit from Clonmel’s close relationship with our sister city can be developed. During the last number of years the number of visitors crossing the Atlantic in both directions has grown. The South Tipperary Arts Centre exchanged artistic works with their Peorian counterparts some years ago while choirs from Bradley University have visited Clonmel”.
Clonmel had sent a delegation to Peoria’s much loved Erinfest, a festival that was a true celebration of the Irish input into life in Peoria over many generations.
Peoria’s major economic sectors are manufacturing, information technology and agriculture. He said that these were similar to Clonmel where agriculture and manufacturing; the pharmaceuticals industry, led by Merck, Sharp and Dohme from the United States; and health technologies led by other American corporations, Boston Scientific and Abbott Vascular were among the leaders of our economic growth locally.
“Peoria, over the past 16 years, has been a true friend to Clonmel”, he stated.
He described Banna Chluain Meala as one of Ireland’s most honoured bands. “They hold concert band championship titles on national and international levels. As a marching band they have had unparalleled success nationally, being crowned IMBA Irish champions in the highest division on eleven occasions.
They have also had success abroad and truly are a great, dedicated group of young people.
“Banna Chluain Meala and the Colour Guard are not just great ambassadors for Clonmel town, but for County Tipperary and indeed Ireland. I know their visit to Peoria will be enjoyable and hugely successful”.