THE 22 year friendship between Limerick County Council and Hohenlohekreis has been strengthened by a trip by 40 Germans to Limerick.
The district is in Baden-Württemberg - one of the two states that provide the largest surpluses in the German economy.
Cathaoirleach Jerome Scanlan welcomed the delegation of councillors and staff and said the trip will boost trade and tourism.
“We will make a return trip next year and promote Limerick from a commercial, tourism and economic point of view. It is very important to explain to people the predicament the country is in,” said Cllr Scanlan.
The group arrived from Dublin Airport last Wednesday afternoon.
“They flew to Dublin because connectivity to Shannon isn’t appropriate, which is something that needs to be done for the region.
“They would have had to come through London and it would have been too inconvenient. It was faster to come in to Dublin and travel down by road which is a drawback with regard to Shannon,” said Cllr Scanlan.
They visited the Flying Boat Museum, Desmond Castle in Newcastle West, which Cllr Scanlan describes as “one of County Limerick’s best kept secrets”, and attended receptions in the Dunraven and the Woodlands.
They shopped in the city centre and some visited St Fintan’s CBS in Doon and Cllr Liam Galvin’s farm.
Cllr Scanlan described the visit as very positive and looks forward to strengthening the link between Hohenlohekreis and Limerick into the future.
Helmut Jahn, manager and chairman of the county council in the Hohenlohekreis, said given the present situation in Europe, it is now more important than ever that countries and regions work together to achieve greater understanding.
“This partnership was the first ever between counties in Germany and Ireland in 1990. There have been significant exchanges in the areas of culture, sport, education and tourism.
“2015 will see the 25th anniversary of the partnership and it is hoped that it will be celebrated with the combined county and city of Limerick,” said Mr Jahn.
Gerry Behan, former director of services, who has had a long association with the twinning, says there has been a range of benefits in the past and more into the future.
Just one example is a future link between the walled town in Kilmallock and the town of Niedernhall. “Kilmallock is one of a number of Irish walled towns and there is also European support for these endeavours and it would be hoped to avail of it,” said Mr Behan.