Twinning funding granted for Midlothian festival

Delegates from Heinsberg ( Germany) and Komarom-Esztergom (Hungary) during thier last visit to Midlothian

Delegates from Heinsberg ( Germany) and Komarom-Esztergom (Hungary) during thier last visit to Midlothian

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Midlothian Council is to spend £25,000 on hosting the twinning Festival of Friendship despite strong opposition to the plans.

Midlothian’s link with Kreis Heinsberg in Germany and Komarom-Esztergom in Hungary has seen a Festival of Friendship held every two years between the partner areas since 1978.

At Tuesday’s council meeting Labour councillors were against using the money for a festival that Provost Joe Wallace (SNP) admitted “may well be the last one” when Midlothian hosts it next October.

Given the cost implications Labour councillors questioned why the 2015 event is going ahead.

Councillor Derek Milligan (Lab), said: “We are not happy at all to underwrite this.

“The fact that we have learned that this could be the last one, well then let the last one be the last one.

“I’m certainly not going to be voting to spend £25,000 for someone to have Ceilidh and a drink.

“At a time when we are cutting back council services we can’t be seen to spend figures of £25,000 on things like this.”

Councillor Adam Montgomery (Lab) said: “It’s the same folk going back and forward every time.

“I would be very reluctant to agree to the £25,000 as well.

“I genuinely don’t think this twinning group works now. This wouldn’t be great value for us and I would prefer to support individual town twinning groups.”

Council leader Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “We have already told the twinning partners that this is happening.

“So I think to at this point cancel something that is so far developed would reflect very badly on us as a council.

“This may well be the last festival, but we agreed to it and we need to see it though. We can’t simply overnight say ‘no this isn’t happening’.

“The previous administration had five years to stop this, we are now just short of this event and we have to go ahead with it.”

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