The Mexicans are coming to town this week bringing with them new links and possibilities for Longford.
A delegation from Huixquilican de Degollado will arrive in Longford town on Thursday, March 19 where they will be treated to an abundance of heritage and culture as both towns prepare for the much-anticipated twinning agreement, first mooted almost two years ago by the Mexican Ambassador to Ireland Carlos Garcia de Alba following his visit to these shores.
The official twinning ceremony is expected to take place at 2pm on Thursday at council headquarters between the two mayors.
The San Patricio Pipe band, which is the only pipe band in Mexico, will also be in attendance and will give a public performance at the plaza in front of St Mel’s Cathedral at 1pm.
“We are very excited about this visit and all the possibilities that this twinning agreement will bring,” said County Librarian, Mary Carleton Reynolds.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming the Mayor to Longford; we will give him a good Irish welcome and hopefully foster a deep friendship between both countries.”
She went on to say that Mr Carlos Garcia de Alba was also travelling to Longford for St Patrick’s Day and she paid tribute to his determination in sealing the twinning agreement between the towns.
“He is a great friend of Longford and it is hoped that the potential twinning of both countries might boost business and tourism for Longford and help place it on the map within the Mexican community.”
Mr Garcia de Alba is no stranger to Longford having been here on a number of occasions.
On a recent visit he attended St Christopher’s Services and the Cameron plant on the outskirts of Longford town and it was only when he was told at the plant that the company had in fact manufactured the equipment necessary to stop the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2010 - which was recorded as one of the worst environmental disasters in modern times – that the Mexican Ambassador realised the close ties that Longford and his native homeland held.
“Mexico is the twelfth largest country in the world and one of the richest,” Mr Garcia de Alba beamed. “There are 5,000 Irish people living in Mexico and there are now 2,000 Mexicans in Ireland. I think Ireland is a good place to do business and a good place for Mexican students, couples and professionals to live in.”
The Mexican Ambassador to Ireland went on to say that he was left “very impressed” by his visit to St Christopher’s Services in Longford town and pointed to placing the service that it provides on the international stage.
“Longford needs to show the world what St Christopher’s does; it must be promoted,” he added. “It was an honour also to visit Cameron here in Longford town. Cameron is a prestigious world-wide American company and from Ireland it has exported devices not just to the Gulf of Mexico but to places all over the world.”
The visit to Longford will last three days and includes trips to local schools, AIT and places of historical importance.