Shane Smyth, Broadcaster & PR Professional


Shane has been involved with Douzelage European Town Twinning since 2014. He is currently Chairperson and Head of Delegation at Douzelage Bundoran and in April 2024, at the General Meeting in Sherborne, UK, was elected president of the Douzelage.

douzelage european town twinning

Never in the history of this organisation have the values and ideals behind Europe and Douzelage been more important – the spirit of friendship, unity and cooperation in a continent and a world in turmoil needs to remain at the fore of what we do, be it through projects, festivals, events, exchanges or even just delegates visiting delegates.

Visiting with Zino in Altea.

What has been built over the past 31 years in Douzelage is unique. Hundreds of people have experienced the different cultures of our different nations and both the spirit and application of this must continue seamlessly.

Douzelage has changed my life – it has given me some great opportunities to travel across Europe and experience different cultures – it has given me some of my greatest friends – it has given me my best friend. It has helped me increase my knowledge of one European language and encouraged me start to learn another one. It has made me appreciate different opinions and views – it has made me want to champion the values and mission of the organisation, to promote it more, to make more people aware of it, to build on the legacy of the current board – and it is what I will do if elected president.

Learning Slovene

I am passionate about Douzelage and its simple idea to bring communities together from across the European Union, constantly welcoming new members in as the EU expands. As we move into the next three years of Douzelage life, transparency, sustainability and communication will be paramount in the running of the organisation as well as the continual exchange of ideas and people through workshops, cultural events, sporting events and more.

With this in mind, I propose that my presidency be shaped by three pillars – Visibility, Transparency and Sustainability.

  • Visibility – Increase the visibility of Douzelage across the 28 member states through a PR and communications campaign as well as the introduction of new collaborative and cultural events.
  • Transparency – Create governance documents for Douzelage which will outline policies and procedures as well as board job descriptions. Financial summary to be made available to all members.
  • Sustainability – Promote the sustainability measures being taken by each town. Share best practices with each other. Aim for Net Zero for GMs and Board Meetings.

I want to take a lead in progressing Douzelage, but while I do, I won’t be able to do it on my own….

There’s an old Irish phrase or “sean fhocal’ that says “Ni Neart Go Cur Le Chéile” – meaning there is strength in unity.  Our unity in Douzelage is our strength of cooperation, collaboration and friendship in this wonderful organisation.

The roadmap for the next 3 years is ready to go

I am ready to go and I am confident in my ability, along with my three Vice Presidents, to lead the organisation for the next three year term of its life. They say if you do something you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life – I am a proud Bundoran man, a proud Irish man and most of all, a proud European who loves Douzelage and I am asking for your support to be president.

Visiting with Alexander & Annigje in Meerssen in 2023

Shane has visited 14 of the 28 Douzelage partner towns across Europe and has written about some of his adventures:

When Travel Doesn’t Always Go To Plan
Getting High in the Netherlands
From Bundoran to Spain in 5 Hours
Greeting Europe in Austria