County Carlow extended the hand of friendship to Chinese partners from the Hunan Province in the People’s Republic of China with an 18 strong delegation visiting the County.
The programme commenced with a formal introduction lead by Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council Cllr. Brian O‘Donoghue and signing of a friendship agreement by Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive & Wang Qun Secretary General Hunan Provincial People’s Government witnessed by Xu Dazhe Governor Hunan Provincial People’s Government.
The agreement will commence a series of engagements with partners in China in order to explore opportunities for County Carlow from a cultural,social, economic and educational viewpoint which commenced with an experience exchange of County Carlow hosted by Carlow County Council in partnership with Institute of Technology, Carlow, Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, Carlow Tourism, County Carlow Chamber, Carlow Cathedral for the delegation. Speaking about the programme for the visit, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council Cllr. Brian O‘Donoghue said “It was a significant honour to lead today’s activities for County Carlow and I was delighted that we showcased many elements of opportunity, with everything from cultural exchanges in the form of music from Aspiro, a review of our history with visits to Carlow Castle and Carlow Museum , to exploring educational opportunities with Institute of Technology Carlow & Carlow College, to Economic links with Carlow Tourism, County Carlow Chamber and our Economic Development Team and literary links with Carlow Library”, O’Donoghue concluded by saying “I look forward to seeing the development of this relationship into the future which we believe will benefit County Carlow”.
The delegation visited Institute of Technology, Carlow where they met senior officials from the Institute and a student delegation from China. Speaking about the visit David Denieffe, Vice-President of Academic Affairs said “Institute of Technology Carlow enjoys a friendly, productive and rewarding relationship with several educational partners in China. The agreement with County Carlow and Hunan Province will enable us to deepen ties with education partners in this province and enable us to promote Carlow as a place of opportunity for investment, education and culture”.
Exploring economic links and the opportunities for the business community featured heavily in the visit and speaking about the potential for the business community, Yvonne Jones, President of County Carlow Chamber said “On behalf of the Business Community we in County Carlow Chamber warmly welcome this international friendship agreement and believe that by working together we can showcase what our wonderful county has to offer”. Jones continued to say “as a Chamber we welcome any opportunity to explore promote and enhance trade, investment and collaboration opportunities between Carlow and the rest of the World. As the World’s second largest economy, China obviously represents enormous potential in terms of import, export and investment opportunities” and we look forward to supporting this relationship as it progresses”.
The visit was supported by the Ambassador & Embassy for the People’s Republic of China and Mr. Huang He, Political Counsellor and DHM representing the Ambassador at the visit said “2019 marked 40 years of formal relationships with Ireland and the Peoples Republic of China and he committed to supporting this friendship to develop and grow to its full potential”.
Fr Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh, President of Carlow College, St. Patrick’s said he was delighted that the College was included on the list of engagements undertaken by Xu Dazhe, Governor of Hunan Province and his delegation during their visit to County Carlow. Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, Ireland’s second oldest third level institution, hosted a special performance for the delegation by the Aspiro Choir under the direction of Mary Amond O’Brien in addition to showcasing the College’s Library and Archive facilities. Speaking about the visit Fr Conn said that “it was a privilege to present our College as part of this historic visit and in particular to highlight the College’s ongoing contribution, over 230 years, to the educational and historic fabric of County Carlow”. Fr Conn continued to say “the importance of Carlow Town’s Cultural Quarter cannot be underestimated. The visit of Governor Xu Dazhe and his delegation to Carlow Library, Museum, Tourist Office, Carlow Cathedral and our Campus, demonstrates the contribution of the Cultural Quarter to the creation of a diverse society which presents opportunity for all”.
The delegation from Hunan was led by Xu Dazhe Governor Hunan Provincial People’s Government who speaking at the events said “he looked forward to developing strong relationships with the organisations in County Carlow as a place for innovation, ambition and success”.
Commenting on the visit , Chief Executive of Carlow County Council , Kathleen Holohan said “Carlow County Council has an important role in developing international relationships which provide opportunity for all and we were delighted that we could work with our local partners to showcase a sample of what our County has to offer from a variety of viewpoints during this visit by Hunan including performances from our creative youth in the form of Aspiro and Brian Byrne & Jim Parmeter from Carlow College of Music”. Holohan continued to say “over the coming months we will remotely engage with our partners as part of this friendship to identify key opportunities which can be explored to benefit both parties”, Holohan continued to say “that investment in international relationships is essential for County Carlow which benefits significantly from an economic viewpoint in terms of FDI, Tourism viewpoint and in particular from educational tourism with our two third level institutions”, she concluded by saying “we in Carlow County Council are committed to the ongoing development of focused international relationships which benefit the people of County Carlow”.