Mayor of Limerick in advanced talks ahead of China trip

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

MAYOR Jim Long has held preliminary talks in Dublin to discuss a proposed trade mission to Xi’an.

MAYOR Jim Long has held preliminary talks in Dublin to discuss a proposed trade mission to Xi’an.

The trip could result in a formal twinning arrangement with a city of over eight million people which is home to the world-famous Terracotta Army.

On Thursday, Mayor Long held discussions with various trade officials for more than two hours to establish “common ground” ahead of the trip east.

“The platform has been clearly set out as to the course and the direction this will take. I have been working on this across the weekend, and I will be putting Limerick’s proposal on the table for the Chinese to review in the coming days,” Cllr Long told the Limerick Leader, “If we find a common ground, we will take it to the next step.”

Following the trip to the capital, he said: “We have a fair indication of the stalls being laid out. This is not a timewasting exercise on my behalf or anybody else’s.”

The mayor is looking for “jobs and investment” from any relationship with Xi’an.

“In the event I take up their invitation to travel, I would be going with a positive outlook.”

Asked if the trip would take place during his term of office - which expires next month - Mayor Long said: “There is an urgency about this.”

Previously, Mayor Long said he expects to travel to China in mid-June with a group of TDs and senators, having been invited by Chinese officials.

Dublin TD Terence Flanagan, who is involved in the mission, pointed out that both the capital and Galway have a twinning agreement with Chinese cities, while Limerick does not.

Mayor Long said the links, if they happen, would include educational and cultural possibilities, a sister city relationship, and the potential of twinning.