In Beijing at 11am (Irish time) on Thursday the 2nd June, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen, signed a twinning agreement with Mayor Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing. This momentous occasion comes on the heels of Dublin City Council’s December decision to formally twin with Beijing.
The Dublin delegation is led by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and includes the City Manager, John Tierney, Councillors Paddy Bourke and Paddy Crimmins, Deputy Eric Byrne, representatives from several third level colleges and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
The Twinning is expected to open up business opportunities between Dublin and Beijing. The mission will also be used as an opportunity to support both cities as destinations for education, tourism, and foreign direct investment. Dublin’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature and European City of Science in 2012 will also be highlighted.
Commenting on the twinning, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen, stated, “We are honoured to have this important link with one of the world’s greatest cities – Beijing. This agreement is more than a symbolic piece of paper; it is opening wider a door of friendship and opportunity for both cities. Dublin wants to be the gateway for Beijing into the European market, offering an ideal investment location. The new wave of Foreign Direct Investment, especially in technology, will come from China. And through the relationship for which we set the groundwork today, we will work hard to make that investment create opportunities for both cities.”
Ireland was recently honoured with being voted the "Destination with the Most Potential for 2011" in a recent poll conducted by the Beijing newspaper "Life Style". Recent changes in Visa arrangements with the United Kingdom will also open up the tourist market and will attract Chinese tourists visiting London to make Dublin a destination on their itinerary. Additionally, Education links with China have grown significantly. There are more than fifty formal bilateral agreements in place between Irish & Chinese institutions for student/staff exchanges and the development of joint programmes and research activities. There are currently over 3,500 Chinese students studying in Irish Higher Education Institutions.