West Dunbartonshire Council has signed a formal friendship agreement with Letterkenny Municipal District in Donegal, Ireland.

Both authorities have agreed as part of the charter to encourage and strengthen links between the citizens of both communities.

Provost William Hendrie welcomed Donegal County Council’s Mayor, Councillor Ian McGarvey, and officials to Clydebank on Saturday.

During the ceremony, Provost Hendrie, Bailie Denis Agnew, the convenor of culture who proposed the agreement, and Mayor McGarvey each signed the charter.

It reads: “We, the representatives of West Dunbartonshire Council and Letterkenny Municipal District, hereby confirm that we are joined in a formal friendship agreement.

“We undertake to encourage educational, sporting, tourism, economic and individual links between the citizens of our two areas.

“We enter into this agreement in the spirit of mutual cooperation and friendship for the benefit of our two communities.”

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Following the signing, Provost Hendrie told the Reporter: “This friendship agreement is an important step in strengthening long-established links between the citizens of West Dunbartonshire and the town of Letterkenny in Donegal.

“Clydebank in particular has strong connections throughout Donegal and as provost it is a privilege to cement our heritage links.”

Also in attendance were the Consul General of Ireland to Scotland Mark Hanniffy, Donegal County Council director of Services Liam Ward, councillors, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, Gil Paterson MSP, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire Mr Owen Sayers, Sister Rita Dawson MBE, the chief executive of St Margaret of Scotland Hospice and other invited guests.

Mr Docherty-Hughes, who is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ireland and the Irish in Britain, welcomed the signing of the friendship agreement.

The West Dunbartonshire MP said: “We’re proud to be home to a large Irish diaspora here in West Dunbartonshire, with many of my constituents having direct and historical family links to Ireland; including my own coming from Stralongford.

“As Brexit looms I think it’s more important than ever that we look to build on the beneficial social and economic ties between Ireland and Scotland.

"I’m excited about the opportunities of this partnership between West Dunbartonshire and Donegal and look forward to it benefitting our communities in the years to come.”

Mayor McGarvey added: “The link between our two regions is of important historical and social significance to both our communities.

"For generations Donegal people travelled to Scotland mainly for work and many remained in Scotland, set up home and raised their families while all the time retaining a strong link and affinity with Donegal.”