Park won’t honor slaveholder, angering Irish cultural groups

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Citing his slave-owning past, a Virginia town outside DC has officially decided not to name a refurbished park after one of its founding fathers in a move that’s fostered accusations of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bias.

The Washington Post reports the Alexandria City Council unanimously decided to name the riverfront-area park “Waterfront Park,” formerly known informally as “Fitzgerald Square.”

John Fitzgerald was an Irish immigrant who was an aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, served as Alexandria’s mayor and founded a Catholic church.

City officials dropped the Fitzgerald Square reference in March. Irish festival organizers The Ballyshaners called on the city this fall to name the park after Fitzgerald, while Terry Riley of the Ancient Order of Hibernians called the town hypocritical for not questioning the value of its Scottish founders.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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