So much for long-term relationships. Auf Wiedersehen!
For 60 years, groups from Fermanagh and the Brackwede district in Germany have been making friends during exchange visits since they were linked as twin towns.
Schoolchildren, musicians, sportsmen and women and many others have ensured the link has cemented relationships in a way that has enhanced tourism and business.
Now though, it looks clear that 60 year friendship is coming to an end even though the Chairman and vice Chairman will travel to Brackwede in October to celebrate the 60th anniversary.
However, the Council has confirmed that the twinning arrangements are currently still operational.
But, at a meeting of the Regeneration and Community Committee in February, it was agreed that the twinning arrangements with Bielefield-Brackwede and Enniskillen and L’Hay-le-Roses and Omagh, be formally terminated at the end of the Council term, and that was in June this year.
However, the council is still sending representatives to Brackwede later this year to celebrate the 60th anniversary.
Now it is believed Fermanagh and Tyrone Council is investigating other possibilities for twinning.
Former vice-chairman Alec Baird, pictured left, explained, “Some people have a great deal of money to spend on things like this and others have little. The Germans have disposable income to spend on twinning and there is a great arrangement between Bielefeld and Lisbellaw Football Club.
“However, a decision has been made to end the formal arrangements. Friendships have been established over the years, so there still could be informal things going on into the future, like teams coming over here and receptions facilitated,” he suggested.
Now Fermanagh and Omagh Council has set up a workshop and is looking at a number of other areas to set up a twinning arrangement.
“We’re looking at places that would make it a win, win situation for both places, Fermanagh and Omagh and whoever we twin with,” said Mr Baird.
He agreed that Bielefeld/Brackwede put more into the twinning in recent years than Fermanagh, which he added was trying to be more prudent with its spending.
“When you reduce from 26 councils down to 24 the twinning arrangements are all being looked at from a practical point of view,” he said.
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