Ties to Ireland upheld

Armstrong pursues sister city agreement with the village of Rathfriland, in Northern Ireland

Armstrong eyes are smiling on the Irish.

City council voted unanimously to establish a sister city committee and a sister city agreement with the village of Rathfriland, in Northern Ireland, and have adopted terms of reference for the local committee.

“This is a great thing, let’s carry on with the twinning agreement,” said Coun. Paul Britton.

The committee will identify meaningful cultural, civic, educational and/or other opportunities for the establishment of a beneficial sister city relationship with Rathfriland.

The six-member committee will consist of one member of Armstrong council, and one member each from the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery, the Armstrong Heritage Society, Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce, the Family History Group and from the community, though that position is expected to be filled by vacating councillor John Trainor, who met with Rathfriland representatives on a trip to Ireland in October.

Committee members will serve two-year terms.

The proposed agreement will be sent to the District of Banbridge, in County Down, which oversees governance of Rathfriland, for its approval.

The deal calls for exchange visits between the communities, ensuring visitors are provided with the opportunity to explore their specific areas of interest.

It also calls for the development of strong links through contacts between schools, business and residents.

Armstrong and Rathfriland are agricultural communities, but the other link they share is a human one.

Catherine Schubert (née O’Hare) was the first European woman to enter B.C. overland from eastern Canada. She was the youngest of nine children born in Rathfriland in 1835, and was buried in Armstrong after her death in 1918.