independent

Thursday 19 September 2019

Wexford to twin with Moroccan town?

Samir Rbouh, Inspector Rory Sheriff, Kamal Tribak, Chief Superintendent Paddy McMenamin, His Excellency Lahcen Mahraoui, and Garda Denis Costello at Wexford Garda Station
Samir Rbouh, Inspector Rory Sheriff, Kamal Tribak, Chief Superintendent Paddy McMenamin, His Excellency Lahcen Mahraoui, and Garda Denis Costello at Wexford Garda Station

Maria Pepper

Preliminary discussions about the possibility of twinning Wexford with the coastal city of Nador in Morocco took place during a visit to the area by the Moroccan Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Lahcen Mahraoui.

Mr. Mahraoui's first port of call was the County Hall in Carricklawn where he met the Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Tony Dempsey, the Council's Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Larkin, and the Head of Communications, David Minogue.

The visit was organised by long-term Wexford resident and businessman Kamal Tribak, a native of Morocco whose brothers Hafid and Said are also among members of the Moroccan community living locally.

Kamal said the aim was to strengthen ties between Morocco and Wexford in terms of education, culture and trade, and one of the topics discussed was a twinning arrangement between Nador and Wexford.

His Excellency Mr Mahraoui said the visit 'provided an opportunity to explore ways and means to build a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between the city of Wexford and a similar Moroccan city, particularly in the maritime, agritech and cultural fields'.

The Ambassador was given a briefing on County Wexford before being taken to Rosslare Harbour where he had discussions with the port's General Manager Glenn Carr and Deputy Harbour Master Michael Proctor, including the issue of Brexit and the impact of a no deal UK withdrawal on the future of the port.

'There is an opportunity for Rosslare to capitalise on Brexit by attracting new business to the port and creating new routes and links to Tangiers port in Morocco,' said Kamal.

'Morocco has a population of 36 million and has free trade agreements with the EU, America and Arab and African countries, with a potential to access one billion clients.

'Tangiers is a gateway to Africa. We are building bridges rather than building walls', said Kamal.

A scheduled visit to the Chamber of Commerce office was postponed to a further date when the Ambassador will return to meet Chamber and Local Enterprise Area representatives and Wexford businesses.

Mr. Mahraoui was taken on a tour of Wexford Garda Station where he met Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin and other members of the force.

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