The French Ambassador to Ireland Vincent Guérin made his first visit to Sligo on Monday, accompanied by Honorary French Consul for Connacht and Donegal, Catherine Cagneux.
French Ambassador visits County Hall
The Ambassador met with the Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor, Chief Executive Martin Lydon, CEO Sligo Chamber Aidan Doyle, President of IT Sligo Brendan McCormack and Xavier Velay, Head of Department (Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering) IT Sligo
They discussed a range of topics, including an overview of business and enterprise in Sligo, educational links, cultural activities, promoting the use of the French language, and opportunities to develop Franco-Irish relations.
Following the meeting there was a reception in the Ambassador's honour in the Council Chamber, attended by Mayor Councillor Arthur Gibbons, Councillors Rosaleen O’Grady, Tom Fox, and Thomas Walsh. President of Sligo Town Twinning Dymphna Gorman also attended, accompanied by French Secretary Town Twinning, Marie Claude Ward and a local member of French Business community, Philippe Huel
In his address, the Cathaoirleach said ‘The relationship between Ireland and France is strong, and this is reflected at local level by the association between Sligo and our friends in our twin town of Crozon.
There is an interesting historical context to Irish-French relations. There has been trading between the Port of Sligo and France since the Middles Ages. Sligo school children are aware of our local involvement in the 1798 rebellion, and General Humbert’s efforts to help the cause of Ireland’s rebellion. We remember the Battle of Carricknagat, when a combined force of French troops and Irish rebels defeated a force of British troops near Collooney.
Today our connections with France, and in particular with our friends in Crozon, embrace a wide spectrum of activity, including exchanges in the realms of culture, sport, enterprise, education and tourism.
Sligo IT has fostered many linkages with French universities participate in the Erasmus programme to enable student exchanges. It is currently involved in a European North West INTERREG programme with four French partners including the University of Lorraine.
Sligo Food Trail
We are delighted to see food feature as an important link between Sligo and France. Our Sligo Food Trail must have reached French shores as we have some examples of French people moving to Sligo to set up their businesses here. We are fortunate that Sligo is home to an authentic French, bakery, another enterprise supported by Sligo Local Enterprise Office.’
The Cathaoirleach concluded his address by thanking the Ambassador for visiting Sligo; ‘Our discussion today is just a brief snapshot of the ties that bind us at local and national level, and I see the Ambassador’s visit today as a significant milestone in the development of this special friendship.’
Front row L-R: Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Ambassador Guérend, Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor, Mayor Councillor Arthur Gibbons
Back row L-R: Chief Executive Martin Lydon, Councillor Tom Fox, Councillor Thomas Walsh, Honorary French Consul Catherine Cagneux