Mayors sign official twinning agreement

Maria Pepper

Viva Wexford! Viva Lugo was the chant as the Mayors of both towns signed an official twinning agreement in Wexford Borough Council.

The Italian town of Lugo now joins Coueron in France as Wexford's second European twin with Annapolis in the US being its 'sister city'.

Welcoming a group of 10 visitors from Lugo, a berobed Mayor of Wexford George Lawlor described it as a'very special occasion'.

He recalled how the two towns first became acquainted several years ago when Luigi Ferrari, the former Artistic Director of Wexford Festival Opera brought the organisers of Lugo's annual opera festival to Wexford to see how the operation was run here.

Since then strong bonds have developed between the two areas, culminating in an official signing in Lugo earlier this year when the former mayor and ex-chairman of Wexford Festival Ted Howlin was afforded the Freedom of Lugo.

Ted and his wife Mary have been regular holiday visitors to Lugo since that first contact was made.

Members of Wexford Wanderers Rugby Club and Wexford Wheelers have also taken part in sporting exchanges with their counterparts in Lugo.

Mayor Lawlor said it was appropriate that Wexford was twinning with another opera town during Wexford's own opera festival.

He said the initial bond was based on a common love of opera and he hoped it would be extended further during the coming years.

Through a translator, the Mayor of Lugo Raffaelae Cortesi, accompaned by his wife Paulo said the new alliance will mean 'a long and fruitful friendship between our communities.'

'The basis for this relationship is the theatre. Love for the theatre is a common ground in our identities that have brought cultural growth and economic development.'

The twinning ceremony was attended by the chairman of Wexford Festival Opera Ger Lawlor and the Chief Executive David McLoughlin as well as David Maguire of Wexford Wheelers and Debbie Carthy, Kevin Byrne and Patrick Ryan of Wexford Wanderers.

Also in attendance were the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, the retired County Manager Eddie Breen and the former Town Clerk Don Curtin.

The first twinning ceremony took place in Italy last Spring during Lugo's opera festival and was attended by then Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. Jim Allen, the Town Clerk Pat Collins, Director of Services Adrian Doyle and Cllr. Howlin.

A 27-strong group from Wexford Wanderers also travelled along with a smaller contingent from Wexford Wheelers.

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