Thank you plaque presented to local community
A thank you plaque has been presented to the Taughmaconnell community by the Mayor of Downey City in California to honour the growing links between both areas.
Unveiled recently in the South Roscommon village, the monument is intended to commemorate the signing of the sister cities agreement in May of 2013, and as a thank you from Mayor Mario Guerra for the welcome given to the US delegation during their visit to the homeplace of John Gately Downey.
A native of Castlesampson, Taughmaconnell, John Gately Downey became the first non-American Governor of California in 1860 at the age of just 32. Such was his stature throughout a hugely successful business and political life in the US that when he died in 1894, Downey City, near LA in southern California was named in his honour.
“We’re delighted to get the plaque,” Chairperson of Taughmaconnell Heritage and Historical Society Micheal Moore commented recently, adding that it cements the twinning arrangement between both areas with locals invited to go out there later this year.
He thanked Roscommon County Council for all their support with the twinning process and the visit in 2013.
“It’s a great honour too that the Special Olympics delegation from Ireland will be staying there (Downey City),” during the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in July, added Mr Moore.
At the recent unveiling ceremony, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr John Cummins and Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council Tommy Ryan paid tribute to the hard work of the local community and stressed the importance of building international relations with the Roscommon diaspora, of which John Downey was a prominent member.
Former Roscommon Mayor, Tom Crosby, recalled his visit to Downey City and the support he received in relation to the illness of his daughter Pearl.
Micheal Moore in his address, referred to an article from The Downey Patriot which outlined that Downey is the host city for Team Ireland in the Special Olympics which is being held in Los Angeles in July, building on the links already established.
In 2010, a bronze bust of John G Downey was unveiled in his memory in his native village by the US Ambassador, Dan Rooney, and his wife Patricia. An exact replica of the Roscommon bust was unveiled later that year in front of Downey City Hall California by Downey City Council.