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Santa Monica City Council Supports Move to Add Irish Sister City
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 22, 2016 -- Santa Monica could soon have a new sister--Galway, Ireland.

The City Council voted unanimously August 9 for City staff and the Santa Monica Sister Cities Association to begin negotiations with Galway to add it to Santa Monica’s roster of sister cities.

Councilmember Kevin McKeown, who has been leading this effort, said Galway becoming a sister city would allow “cultural and educational exchanges” between it and Santa Monica (“Santa Monica Councilmember Hopes to Add Irish Sister City,” July 14, 2016).

McKeown has Irish ancestry and is a frequent visitor to the country.

He said Santa Monica and Galway share many similarities, including being located on a bay named for their respective cities. Also, art and technology are major features in both areas.

McKeown said Galway also has a walkway similar to the Third Street Promenade.

Galway is home to the National University of Ireland and has a population of about 75,000, which is close to Santa Monica’s most recent estimated population of a little under 94,000 (“Santa Monica Population Increases Slightly,” May 5, 2016).

The European Union recently named Galway the European Capital of Culture for 2020.

McKeown said he was encouraged by the Santa Monica Sister Cities Association to make the overture to Galway officials when he visited last month. He said the concept was well-received there.

Galway would become Santa Monica’s first English-speaking sister city, McKeown noted.

“Although I think you might find Galwegians as difficult to understand as some of the people from Fujinomiya [a Santa Monica sister city located in Japan],” McKeown said. “The Western Irish [accent] can be kind of thick.”

In addition to Fujinomiya, Santa Monica has sister city relationships with Mazatlan in Mexico, Hamm in Germany and Cassino and Sant’Elia in Italy.

Last month the Santa Monica council voted to name Kizugawa, Japan a friendship city, which is a lower status than sister, but gives similar access to cultural and educational exchanges (“Council Names Friendship City,” July 29, 2016).

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