In light of the tragic events which unfolded in Christchurch on Friday last, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, in his capacity as Leas Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, has requested that a book of condolence be placed in the civic centre in Athlone for those wishing to express their sympathies to the people of New Zealand.
“Over the weekend I have arranged for both Athlone and Mullingar to open books of condolences for the people of New Zealand and for the Muslim community as a whole, following the tragic mass shooting dead of 50 people in the horrific act of terrorism in Christchurch last Friday.
“There are many similarities between Ireland and New Zealand. Therefore, I think as a country we feel a great deal of solidarity and sympathy for the people of New Zealand, particularly at this awful time.
“Our landscapes, our industries and our people have a lot in common. A very friendly, peaceful and tolerant people like the Irish, New Zealand cherish their Maori culture as we do our Irish culture. As a country we should express our sympathies and solidarity with New Zealand as they try and come to terms with this terrible tragedy,” Cllr. O’Rourke remarked.