International Relations

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Sister Cities USA-Ireland Summit (April 21st-24th)

Representatives from Local Authorities throughout Ireland and their Sister cities from the USA recently collaborated with the International Relations Unit of Dublin City Council and San Jose to host a Sister Cities Summit in Croke Park, under the theme “Independence and Interdependence”.  

Ardmhéara Críona Ní Dhaláigh opened the Summit and was joined on the Mayors Panel by the Mayor of Guadalajara, the Mayor of Liverpool and the Vice Mayor of San Jose in discussing the importance of promoting international relations, through cities working together to address common challenges.  On this special centenary weekend, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins addressed the 340 delegates and called on participants to “turn words into achievements and stressed the need for citizen action to create a more just and equal society and more sustainable planet.

32 speakers addressed issues of economy, education, youth, social justice and culture.  These included the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank, Gerald Bradley, who spoke of the thriving Irish tech talent pool and backed the initiative of funding Irish start-ups.  Academy Award winner, Jim Sheridan, spoke about changing the idea of culture from an abstract concept into a tangible phenomenon.  Practical ideas and projects emerged, which will promote Local government employees and the broad range of city stakeholders in joint engagement to gain practical benefit from Sister Cities contact. Videos of the Summit can be viewed through the website at or for further information please contact the international relations unit by email:

CCnet – Cities of change was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme "Europe for Citizens"

Applicable to the Action 1 –  Measure 1.2 "Networks of Twinned Towns"
Action 2 – Measure 2.3 "Support projects initiated by civil society organisations"
Action 4 – "Active European Rememberance"

Lord Mayors’ Forum – Maximising the Economic Corridor

Dublin City Council and Belfast City Council jointly hosted the Lord Mayors’ Forum – Maximising the Economic Corridor, March 2014.

Championed by the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Belfast, the Lord Mayors’ Forum crowd sourced the wisdom of over 200 participants from business, education and civil society. It began with a seminar in Dublin City Hall focused on how technology can drive economic development across the island. It continued on the Enterprise Train to Belfast with a focus on the potential to increase tourism. It concluded in Belfast with the identification of how creative technologies can change the future economy of the region. Click here to read Lord Mayors’ Forum Report.

International Unit

To manage our relationships with Dublin’s twin cities

We manage relationships with Dublin’s twin cities and examine new twinning opportunities in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. We are currently twinned with four cities which include:

    1. Documents relating to this Twinning.
      1. Twinning Agreement between Dublin and Beijing
      2. Memorandum of Understanding between Beijing and Dublin
  • Barcelona (Spain) - Twinned since 1998
  • Dublin and Barcelona have been sister cities since 1998.
  • In March of 2013, The Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Mayor of Barcelona signed an addendum to that agreement to revitalise the bilateral links between the two cities.
  • The agreement focused on items such as economic development, e-government, the use of smart technologies in the delivery of services, culture and tourism.
  • An ongoing draft work plan of collaboration will be explored throughout the duration of the agreement up until and including 2016.

Examples of the items of collaboration that interest the City include: 

1.Share knowledge/best practice around Digital technologies under the City Protocol Society, which is lead by Barcelona, and under the Digital Maturity Model.
2.Learn from Barcelona’s experience in attracting Chinese investment into their port.
3.Exchange information on Barcelona’s experience in developing the Cruise Liner industry as a potential model for Dublin.

Memorandum of Understanding Dublin and Barcelona March 2013

  • Liverpool (United Kingdom) - Twinned since 1997
  • San José (United States of America) - Twinned since 1986
  • The San Jose & Dublin Sister City relationship was initiated in 1986. The program, known as “twinning” in Ireland, has evolved over the years to be one of the strongest sister city linkages worldwide and develops cultural, economic, artistic and sporting ties between San Jose/Silicon Valley and Dublin.

To manage and develop our UK / European Union networks and projects

Cities of the Isles Network (COTI)

Cities of the Isles Shared Histories Smart Futures

On the 23rd and 24th October 2013, mayors and leaders from the civic, business, higher education, sporting and cultural communities from cities across Ireland and the United Kingdom gathered in Dublin for the “Cities of the Isles; Shared Histories Smart Futures Summit”. The Summit aimed to strike practical deals around economic, social, civic, cultural and educational co-operation. The Summit provided a networking platform for Cities across the isles in order to emphasize and encourage deeper co-operation across the islands. The Summit was attended by representatives from 15 cities, including Belfast, Derry, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn, and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mairtín O’Muilleoir, opened proceedings by launching the Shared Histories Different Allegiances exhibition in the Atrium of the Civic Offices on the 23rd of October. The exhibition explores the campaigns for and against Home Rule, the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the growth of the volunteer armies, gun running, the suffrage movement and the Gaelic revival. The exhibition will be on display in the Civic Offices until the 14th of November.

The Summit itself took place in the Printworks Room of Dublin Castle with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Summit focused on infrastructural challenges and business opportunities between cities, building on our smart futures through open innovation, the importance of people, sport, events and culture as tools for collaboration and economic and social development. Keynote speakers included, the Irish Ambassador to the UK, Dr Dan Mullhall, Paul Lynam, CEO of Siemens Ireland, David Gavaghan, CEO Titanic Quarter, Belfast, Pat Bonner, former Rep of Ireland and Celtic goalkeeper,  Prof Martin Curley, Intel and many more.

The event was organised by the Office of Economy and International Relations and was supported by Innovation Dublin, the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce, Open Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and INTERREG IVB (EU programme), and The Gathering. For further information please contact Robert Bambrick: , phone +353 1 222 2194.

Videos from the Cities of the Isles; Shared Histories Smart Futures Summit

City Hall, Dublin Oct 23rd
Ruby Walsh Interview
Summit, Dublin Castle, 24th of October, 2013

Shared Histories Smart Futures -  Opportunities and Necessity Session
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Martín O Muileoir
The British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott
Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dan Mulhall
Smart Future Challenges for Cities - Open Dialogue
Graham Colclough, Vice President, Global Activity, Cap Gemini
Paul Lynam, CEO Siemens Ireland
Eleni Pratsini, Director of Optimisation and Research, IBM Smart Cities Centre
Infrastructural Challenges and Business Opportunity - Smart Responses
Mr Steve Aiken, CEO British Irish Chamber of Commerce
David Gavaghan, CEO Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Liam Reid, Corporate Relations Director, Diageo Ireland
Eoin Magennis, Intratrade Ireland
People and Sports as a driver for collaboration
Kieran Shannon from the Irish Examiner interviews former Irish international footballers Pat Bonner and Kevin Kilbane.
People Connecting through events and culture - the win win of collaboration
Karl Wallace, Artistic Director, Limerick City of Culture, 2014
Shona McCarthy, CEO Culture Company Derry
Kingley Aikens, CBE Founder of Diaspora Matters
Dr Mary Kerins. Dublin Airport Authority
Kate Robertson, Co-Founder of One Young World
Panel Discussions
Open Innovation - Driving Smart Cities and Smart Economies
Ian Stewart, City Mayor of Salford
Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council
Prof Martin Curley, Vice President Intel Corporation and Director of Intel Labs Europe
Coti final thoughts
Mr Peter Finnegan, Executive Manager of the International Relations Unit, Dublin City Council

 UCEU Logo Union of Capitals of the European Union

The Union of Capitals of the European Union (UCEU) is an organisation of which 27 European Union capitals are members. The Union was established in 1961 to encourage linkages and develop solidarity between these cities. Dublin held presidency of the Union in 2008 and this years presidency is held by Bratislava on September 17th - 18th 2013.

   Eurocities Logo   Eurocities  

Eurocities brings together local governments from more than 140 cities in over 30 European countries. Eurocities provides a platform for members to share knowledge, to exchange experiences and to analyse common problems and develop solutions. Eurocities was founded in 1986. Dublin became a member of Eurocities in 2000. Visit Eurocities online at

 Photo of Dublin Mayors taking part in the St.Patricks Day Parade 2013   Gathering of the Dublins

Did you know that there are 4 other cities named ‘Dublin’ around the world and a further 16 communities and towns? They vary in size, in history, in economy and in culture, but they all share a link to Dublin, Ireland, founded by the Vikings over 1,000 years ago.

They were all called ‘Dublin’ because those who founded them came from or felt a connection to Dublin, Ireland. With this being the year of the Gathering, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó MuirÍ invited the civic and political leaders of the 21 cities and places, called ‘Dublin’, to come to Dublin, Ireland, to gather as his guests during the 2013 St Patricks Festival.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin was delighted to welcome his fellow Dublin Mayors of California, Georgia, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The five Dublin Mayors took in many of the city’s cultural sites over the weekend such as Dublin City Hall and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. They also sampled some urban transport in Dublin with ‘dublinbikes’ and took part in The St. Patricks Day Parade. The opportunity to discuss potential business and tourism links were also taken. 


Open Innovation 2.0     Open Innovation 2.0 logo

Dublin city Council is a co-host in an Open Innovation 2.0 Conference, alongside Intel Labs Europe, Trinity College Dublin, European Commission and the Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group.
As part of the Open Innovation 2.0 conference we are hosting a unique technology showcase to inspire and demonstrate how a future vision of Sustainable Economy and Society can be practically implemented. The showcase will display how technology affects our lives and how you can benefit from them.
You have the unique opportunity to experience the City Technology Showcase yourself on the 21st May at The Round Room in The Mansion House and admission is free!
As part of the conference, we are also running a general open competition, a university based competition, a schools competition and a BIZWorld workshop. 

For more information the City Showcase and competitions please see our website

To develop and manage North/South relationships

We work with Belfast and other counties/councils along the eastern corridor of Ireland to develop economic prosperity and social cohesion.

To develop and manage global projects

Dublin City commits to UN Women Safe Cities Global Programme

On 20 and 21 February, Dublin City co-hosted, with the UNDP and in partnership with UN Women and UNITAR, the 8th World Forum of Cities Against Poverty.  During the period of the Forum, the then Executive Director of UN Women and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, announced Dublin City’s commitment to joining the UN Women Safe Cities Global Programme.
UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Programme works with cities to devise innovative approaches at the local level to reduce or eliminate violence against women and girls in public spaces, including on public transport. The programme is typically driven by local authorities in partnership with civil society, grassroots women’s organisations, policing bodies, national governments, private sector bodies, the media and academia with support from UN Women.
Launched in 2010 in 5 pilot cities – Quito (Ecuador); New Delhi (India); Kigali (Rwanda); Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Cairo (Egypt) – UN Women plan to up-scale the programme to 35 cities by 2017.  Dublin is the first city from a developed country to express commitment to the programme. Dublin City is adopting the Safe Cities Global Programme not because Dublin is a particularly unsafe city, but because we want to be proactive, not complacent, and to put in place improvements where necessary.


Undertake research on behalf of Dublin City Council

Our research aims to:

  • Enhance Dublin as an attractive place in which to work, live, holiday and invest.
  • Develop the measures, benchmarks and evidence that is needed to strengthen Dublin City Council’s position in regional and national policy debates.
  • Develop international benchmarks against which the performance of Dublin City and the council can be measured.
  • Identify how Dublin City Council (and other regional stakeholders) can improve the city’s ranking against international standards and best practice. 

Reports Published include;

Managing Opinion Panel for the City

Your Dublin Your Voice - a civic engagement project Photo taken at Your Dublin Your Voice Launch

Your Dublin Your Voice is an exciting initiative of the four Dublin local authorities that gives Dubliners and visitors a unique opportunity to provide opinions and views on what they love, like and despair at in the capital.  The project seeks feedback and suggestions, via online surveys, on a range of issues that impact on quality of life in Dublin.  The use of internet technology in the delivery, analysis and dissemination of the survey and its results makes Your Dublin Your Voice a highly cost effective mechanism for public sector decision makers to engage with citizens and others in order to drive change for the region.
Launched in October 2010, the project has established Dublin’s first opinion panel for the city region.  The panel now boasts some 4,000 members, almost 2,000 of whom responded to the latest survey in the summer of 2012.  In the latest survey, Making Dublin Digital, carried out in July 2012 respondents gave their views and experiences on the day-to-day value of digital technology, the quality of the broadband offering, the usability of government websites and how the city region can function as a better place to live, work and visit by integrating digital technologies into all aspects of the urban environment. The next survey will launch in May 2013 and will ask people for their opinions on calling Dublin City home and leadership and governance in the city.
The potential of Your Dublin Your Voice as a serious tool of civic engagement is already in evidence.  As a branch or practice of e-Governance, it draws together service providers and users in a technologically able society.  It highlights the possibilities for new technology in heightened interaction between citizens and decision makers and in creating communities and cities which rely on the combined views, values, knowledge and skills of the true stakeholders in any city – its citizens.
To register for the Your Dublin, Your Voice panel or to read more about previous surveys please click here.


  • Oversees Disability Act 2005 Disability Implementation Plan with disability Steering Group
  • Promotes actions for Barcelona Declaration 1995 “The City and the Disabled”, signed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1999
  • Coordinates the provision of assistance and guidance to people with disabilities in accessing services provided by DCC
  • Promotes/organises consultation with disability stakeholders
  • Supports Disability Focus Group in DCC and local access groups in city
  • Promotes disability Awareness e.g. Dublin Access Guide, Transition year Projects and updating website
  • Deals with disability complaints and advocates for disabled persons
  • Promotes disability awareness training for customer service and best practice for technical design of buildings, parks and the public realm
  • Promotes accessibility with Social Inclusion Dept and the National Access Officers Network

For more information

Dublin City Council
International Relations Unit
Culture, Recreation and Economic Services
3 Palace Street
Dublin 2
Eircode: D02 T277


Tel: +353 (0)1 222 5084