AS ITALY celebrates the 150th anniversary of the country’s reunification, the Italian town of Nettuno is celebrating its new twinning links with Ardee.
And to mark the occasion Ardee Town Council held a civic reception at the local golf club.
The setting was ideal as Ardee Golf Club celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
“This is a great week for the Irish everywhere,” said Ardee Town Council chairman Padraig McKenny when he welcomed the Italian guests and the people of Ardee to the event in the clubhouse of Ardee Golf Club.
“No other country in the world,” he said, “celebrates its national holiday in every part of the world and on behalf of the citizens of Ardee I welcomed the mayor and councillors from Nettuno.
“Both towns have a great deal in common, not least their medieval history and the fact that both have a superbly preserved castle in their centres.
“The link will establish cultural, social and economic ties that will develop over the years and we look forward to a long and happy European friendship.”
Louth Local Authorities County Manager Conn Murray said it is important for local government to be involved with these international relationships and he paid tribute to the work done by members of Ardee Town council and officials who established the link with their Italian colleagues.
He said it was an important step that would benefit young people in particular and paid tribute to the representatives from Ardee Community School who were represented by their school council and who also contributed magnificent painting for the occasion.
Deputy Seamus Kirk said the twinning ceremony was taking place of the eve of St Patrick’s Day and at a time when the Louth economic forum was promoting Louth tourism and heritage, and that Ardee had an important part to play in this development.
He was confident that the twinning with Nettuno would establish great links between our two cultures.
Newly appointed government minister Fergus O’Dowd also said that the relationships between the two towns and countries would be very productive and help give a bright future to the people of Ardee.
The captain of Ardee Golf Club Brendan Healy thanked the Ardee Town Council and the people of Ardee for organizing the event and welcomed the Italian guests in their own language.
The mayor of Nuttuno, Alessio Chiavetta, said a delegation of councillors from Ardee had visited Nettuno last May for the annual pilgrimmage and procession in honour of San Maria Goretti and it was fitting that they themselves should return the great compliment by coming to Ardee for St Patrick’s week.
“The unification of Italy is only 150 years old,” he said, “but our culture, like yours, is very old. Our castle is one thousand years old.
“This is an important link that is being established between us. It is important for both our cultures and very important for our young people.”
Presentations were exchanged that included a bronze Cuchulann figure from Ardee town Council to the mayor of Nettuno and a magnificent photograph of the Ardee Golf Club course, which was presented by the club to the town council for the people of Ardee, in appreciation of their support over the past hundred years.