Beijing twinning will promote Dublin property for investment


SIX YEARS after Cork twinned with China’s biggest city, Shanghai, Dublin is be twinned with Beijing.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen will lead a delegation to China to sign the deal early next month.

The twinning move is expected to open up business opportunities with Beijing, which has a population of 22 million, and boost Dublin’s profile.

Beijing, which translates as “northern capital”, is undergoing a lengthy boom which kicked off as the city was redeveloped for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Ireland’s Ambassador to China, Declan Kelleher, said.

“It’s a very positive development and a platform for building city-to-city relations,” said Mr Kelleher.

Peter Finnegan, director of international relations and research with Dublin City Council, said the trip would have three elements: city-to-city, business and education.

Taking part in the delegation, which begins on June 1st, would be municipal officials such as the city manager, John Tierney, Labour Party deputy Eric Byrne and the president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Paul Keogh.

There would also be representatives from many of the capital’s universities and colleges.

One of the initiatives to be undertaken will be to promote Dublin as a property investment site.

Some organisations had opposed the move to twin with Beijing, including Amnesty International, because of China’s poor human rights record.

However, the agreement to twin with Beijing was reached in December.

Last month, Cllr Mannix Flynn mentioned Dublin’s good relations with China and the successful twinning initiative when he expressed concern over the safety of outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been detained by the government.

Dublin’s profile among Beijingers is probably best described as mixed.

“I know Dublin is in a European country, but I’m not sure which one. Is it Germany?” asked a Mr Zhu.A woman whose surname is Chen said: “It’s in Ireland, right?

“I saw some university information about it before, about an old university with a long history and a high reputation.

“It’s cold, with beautiful landscapes,” she added.

A travel agent, surnamed Ma said: “Dublin is the capital of Ireland.

“A beautiful city. I’ve never been there though, so I don’t know other details.”

Dublin is currently twinned with a number of cities including San José, California; Liverpool; Barcelona; and Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia.

Mr Finnegan said Dublin was also in talks with Rio de Janeiro in Brazil about twinning with that city.

It was also looking at India as part of a policy of twinning with the high-growth Bric countries, which are Brazil, Russia, India and China.

In a separate development, the Fingal County is twinning with the Sichuan capital, Chengdu, and the deal is due to be signed next week.