WHEREAS the City of Alexandria, Virginia once celebrated its Irish heritage through the naming of the public square on its waterfront park after Colonel John Fitzgerald, a hero of the American Revolutionary War and a compatriot of George Washington in the struggle against the King and Parliament, a successful defender of Alexandria in the Revolutionary War, a former Mayor of Alexandria, the founder of the first Catholic church in Virginia, and a tireless promoter of religious freedom; and
WHEREAS the City of Alexandria worked closely for years with Patrick Troy (one of Alexandria’s most prominent business persons and founder of the Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade) on the Fitzgerald Square project and assured Mr. Troy that the Fitzgerald Square project would go forward even after Mr. Troy became mortally ill; and
WHEREAS on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018—the very day set aside to remember our Irish history—the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia, without provocation or explanation and without consultation with the Mayor, arbitrarily stripped the Irish name “Fitzgerald” from the waterfront park square in Old Town Alexandria; and
WHEREAS instead of celebrating Alexandria’s deep Irish and patriotic past, the City Council renamed the park “King Street at the Waterfront”, which recalls the British oppression of the Irish, Alexandria, and the American Colonies; and
WHEREAS this action—done surreptitiously and without public input or discussion—was conducted in front of the warehouse and public buildings once owned by Irish immigrant Colonel John Fitzgerald; and
WHEREAS the Fitzgerald Square project is deeply entwined with both the Irish culture and Irish-American history of both Alexandria and the United States; now be it therefore
RESOLVED that the Ancient Order of Hibernians condemns in the strongest terms this outrage against our Irish history and heritage and insult of all Irish-Americans; calls upon the Planning Commission, City Council, and Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia to rescind its renaming of the waterfront and return the good name of Colonel John Fitzgerald—immigrant, patriot, and war hero—to the public square named in his honor; and institute changes that protects the Irish history of the City of Alexandria.
Adopted in Convention and signed and witnessed this Fourteenth Day of July in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Eighteen, the two hundred and forty-second year since the founding of the American republic, and the one hundred and second since the Proclamation of the Irish republic.
|James F. McKay III
|Jere E. Cole Jr.