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Councils explore economic link between Birmingham and Shannon

12 February 2024

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham will travel to County Clare this weekend to initiate efforts by Clare County Council and Birmingham City Council to explore the establishment of economic links between the UK’s second largest city and the Shannon area, including the airport and industrial zone.

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Councillor Chaman Lal and key figures from Europe’s largest local authority will arrive at Shannon Airport this Friday before embarking on a comprehensive two-day tour of County Clare.

The itinerary includes meetings with business leaders in Shannon, including representatives of the Future Mobility Campus, EI Electronics and Jaguar Land Rover, ahead of a Shannon Chamber business lunch, which will feature a keynote address by Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Councillor Lal also will visit the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, enjoy a cruise on Lough Derg, and attend the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet.

The Lord Mayor’s visit follows his acceptance of an invitation from the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor Joe Cooney, and Chair of the County Clare Twinning Committee, Councillor Tony O’Brien. On the invitation of the Lord Mayor, a Clare delegation will make a return visit to Birmingham during March as the city will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Councillor Lal became the first British-Indian Lord Mayor of Birmingham on his election to the position in May 2023. Speaking ahead of his visit, the Lord Mayor said, “Birmingham has the largest Irish population per capita in Britain, but to date the city has not had any formal or substantive direct relationships with any Irish town or city at a municipal level. I am excited to meet with business and local government leaders in County Clare to explore how both Councils might build connections on a variety of footprints from trade and investment to education and culture.”

Cathaoirleach Joe Cooney said, “Establishing a link between the Shannon Municipal District (MD) and a British city has been a long-time objective of the MD’s Elected Members who recognise the potential gains for businesses in this region through the establishment of such a relationship. Birmingham with its sizeable Irish population and its status as a global hub for major multinationals makes it an ideal fit for Shannon. We very much look forward to welcoming the Lord Mayor to County Clare on Friday morning.”

Cllr Tony O’Brien commented, “The Twinning Committee approached Birmingham City Council about exploring the development of links between both regions due to the excellent connectivity between Shannon Airport and Birmingham, which is the largest airport in the British Midlands. Any economic synchronisation between our two regions also would have an added tourism value as it would serve to showcase County Clare to the vitally important UK visitor market.”

Page last reviewed: 12/02/24

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