Council’s reputation prevents USA twinning

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IT all looked rosy for Craigavon Borough Council in 1978 when it was suggested that they ‘twin’ the area with Santa Rosa in California.

The American west coast city, 47 miles north of San Francisco, was all set to become Craigavon’s US twin.

But later someone put a spanner in the works.

Former Mayor, Councillor Sydney Cairns, had been on a trip to California and told councillors that Santa Rosa was known throughout America as the city ‘designed for living’.

Money was available for twinning and he felt Craigavon would benefit greatly from it.

“A paradise on earth,” said Councillor Cairns.

The wheels were set in motion to cement the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Santa Rosa’s city fathers agreed to the venture and Craigavon council gave it the green light.

It was believed that exchange trips would be arranged, initially involving the council but to include community groups and other bodies later on.

But before any of this could be finalised someone sent the city fathers in California press cuttings about the goings-on within Craigavon council, in particular their handling of some controversial issues which made the headlines.

The story also made headlines in the USA and along with pressure from some prominent groups in the USA the California connection fell by the wayside.