Monday 22 July 2019

Sympathies sent to Wexford sister city of Annapolis

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28
Police at the scene of the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28
Tony Robinson
Cllr George Lawlor in Annapolis in 2008

Anna Hayes

Wexford County Council has, through Deputy Mayor George Lawlor, expressed its sympathies to the people of Annapolis, Maryland, in the wake of another horror gun attack in the US.

On Thursday last, five people were killed in a shooting inside the newsroom of the Capital Gazette. Three others were injured in the shooting which, police believe, was a targeted attack on the newspaper, which is one of the oldest in America. The suspect, Jarrod Warren Ramos, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Wexford has a long-established connection to Annapolis. The city is the site of the John Barry Naval Base - John Barry being the founder of the American Navy and a native of Wexford. For over 30 years, Wexford has had a 'sister city' relationship with the Maryland State capital through the twinning process. The relationship was originally fostered in an effort to highlight the role of Commodore John Barry, the first Commissioned Officer of the US Navy.

Labour councillor George Lawlor was the Mayor when a delegation from Wexford visited Annapolis in 2014. While there, they attended the opening of the John Barry Gate in the Naval Academy and Cllr Lawlor opened an exhibition of Plein Air paintings while there.

On a previous visit, in May 2008, Cllr Lawlor had the honour of unveiling a marker the John Barry Docks.

He explained that two previous Mayors of Annapolis, Josh Cohen and Ellen Moyers had visited Wexford in recent times with their own delegations.

Cllr Lawlor, who was recently elected Deputy Mayor of Wexford, expressed his sympathy to the people of Annapolis following the attack, saying: 'From our experience of the beautiful, peaceful surroundings of Annapolis, this attack has come in a shocking manner. The people of this magnificent sailing capital are some of the most welcoming in America and an attack such as this is totally anathema to the Wexford experience of visiting our friends on the shores of Chesapeake Bay.'

He said he was sure he shared the view of the people of Wexford and beyond in sending sympathy and solidarity to the people of Maryland as they struggled to come to terms with such a horrific event.

'Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.'

Another strong connection between Annapolis and Wexford is in the area of art as both locations host prestigious Plein Air painting festivals.

Local artist and proprietor of Spectrum Art Shop Tony Robinson is one of the coordinators of Wexford's 'Art In The Open' festival which is in its 11th year this year. He explained that when they were establishing the festival in 2007 they had written to the Mayor of Annapolis, asking to be put in contact with someone involved in the Paint Annapolis festival to get some advice.

'David Diaz, who has been involved with that festival for a long time came over with his late wife and has been coming over ever since. I wasn't able to reach David on Thursday but I know that he's OK.'

Last year, Tony and Paul Maloney attended the Paint Annapolis festival and won prizes for their works. Later this month, five artists from Annapolis will attend Wexford's Art in the Open festival, while the US festival will also sponsor some prizes for the local event. The artists attending are David Diaz, Bruno Baran and his wife Audrey, Stuart White and Lynn Mehta. The US festival, he said, invites artists from Ireland over every year.

Wexford People

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