In his 36-hour whirlwind Dublin visit, Mayor Coderre carried a clear message and left an important post-visit legacy.
Central to Coderre’s agenda was the strengthening of Dublin-Montréal economic, political and cultural ties by fostering trade, direct air routes and through the signing of a city-level friendship and cooperation agreement.
To support bilateral trade, Coderre met and addressed the broad Irish business community through a breakfast and luncheon. Underlining the uptick in Québec-Ireland trade relations, visits were paid to two Dublin-based companies with recent Québec links. Keywords Studios, which set up shop in Montréal in 2011, took advantage of the Mayor’s passage with Montréal International to announce the creation of an additional 100 jobs over three years in Montréal. The acquisition of Topaz Energy, Ireland’s leading convenience store and fuel retailer, by Alimentation Couche-Tard closed in February 2016.
Through the “Friendship and Cooperation Acknowledgement” inked between the Mayors of Dublin and Montréal, strong groundwork has been laid for cooperation and sharing of best practices between both cities. Coderre-initiated projects such as his Living Together and Smart City policies, are likely to be the subject of more detailed future discussion themes between the two mayors.
Created in 2015 by the City of Montréal, the Mayors’ International Observatory on Living Together results from the desire of a group of international mayors to work together to promote citizen reception and inclusion with the aim of combating discrimination and radicalisation. The “Smart City” initiative, which is an integral part of Coderre’s home platform, involves turning Montréal into a “smart city” where citizens can converse with municipal government online and through digital dialogue, be involved in decisions that affect their daily lives.
Last, but by no means least, the common heritage of both cities was stressed: “the natural alliance that unites the two cities through the historical contribution of the Irish as one of the founding peoples of Montréal”. That the Mayor of Montréal made time in his packed schedule to visit to The Book of Kells speaks to his wish to appreciate Ireland’s cultural treasures and to deepen cultural links. And, following his visit to county Cavan, birthplace of a great-great grandfather, Mayor Coderre will have left Ireland with an important personal legacy that will afford him lifelong memories.