11 February 2022
By Tom Collins
Cork is the second largest City in the Republic of Ireland, while Derry is the second largest City in Northern Ireland
Cork North Central Deputy Colm Burke has suggested that councils in both cities should establish a broad-based committee to begin the process of building an alliance as the work of reconciliation and peace building continues on the island of Ireland.
Deputy Burke said: “One hundred years on from partition and almost 25 years from the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, we need to realise that peace on our island must never be taken for granted.
“Brexit has introduced a new element of instability into politics of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Each generation has a responsibility to continue the work of reconciliation and peace making between all people on this island.
“On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the ongoing trauma associated with that horrific event and the years of violence which followed, we in the Republic of Ireland have a responsibility to reach out the hand of friendship to the people of Northern Ireland.
“As part of a Shared Island approach I believe that Cork City Council should enter into discussions with Derry City & Strabane Council with a view to establishing a Friendship Alliance between the two cities. Cork is the second city in the Republic and Derry is the second city in Northern Ireland; there is a certain symmetry about the two cities establishing a Friendship Alliance.
“This should involve the full spectrum of political, business, social, cultural, educational and sporting organisations in both regions.
“Funding to undertake the widest possible consultation across both regions could be provided by the Shared Island Fund.
“A cross-border scheme of this nature would also attract EU funding and support. The consultation process should lead to a formal agreement between the two city regions on a shared programme of engagement and the establishment of an implementation and governance structure to make the Friendship Alliance a working and living reality.
“If the Lord Mayor of Cork and Cork City Council took the initiative, I am sure the people of Cork would respond with enthusiasm and generosity to a proposal of this nature. I am also confident that Derry and its people would welcome such an initiative, as we continue the important work of peacebuilding on this island,” Deputy Burke concluded.