26 June 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The Ballybay flag was flying high on German soil over the weekend of 12th – 14th June, as an official delegation, made up of the then Cathaoirleach of the Ballybay-Clones Municipal District, Councillor Ciara McPhillips and Councillor Cathy Bennett, accompanied by Municipal District Co-ordinator, Kevin McNally visited Gergweis and Osterhofen in Bavaria, Germany.

This official visit coincided with the private trips of former Ballybay town councillors, Martin McAvinney and Bríege Rutledge and her husband John to the area.

The people of Ballybay have enjoyed a rich friendship with the people of Gergweis, Osterhofen for many years and 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the official twinning between the two areas.

The Municipal District members, of the newly formed Ballybay-Clones area were eager to gauge public opinion before taking up the reins and having consulted widely it became clear that the people of Ballybay and its hinterland were anxious that the links already forged would be maintained, and indeed that the new Municipal District would allow for opportunities for the wider West Monaghan area.

With this in mind, when an invitation was received requesting a visit from the Ballybay representatives to Osterhofen, there was unanimous support. The Cathaoirleach, Ciara McPhillips and Cllr Cathy Bennett (in lieu of her Sinn Féin colleague and Leas-Cathaoirleach, Pat Treanor) were chosen to represent the area on this official trip. The councillors were to be accompanied by Municipal District Co-ordinator, Kevin McNally.

“Having never previously visited Germany, I was unsure of what to expect but nothing could have prepared me for the warmth of their welcome. Ireland may be known for its ‘céad mile fáilte’ but our German counterparts are certainly not to be found wanting,” Councillor McPhillips told The Northern Standard.

The Monaghan group attended a private function on the Friday evening and on Saturday the Osterhofen Citizens Festival got underway. The German town is not much bigger than Ballybay but has a bigger hinterland, with a small selection of shops and bars. The festival was a real community occasion with food, drinks ….


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