After I previously noted Slate’s David Plotz argument that “Anyone can create his own St. Patrick.”, Suzy at Maman Poulet highlights the continuing exclusive nature of some of those creations.. and points to the comments of the Westmeath-born Chairman of New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade John Dunleavy, quoted in the NY Times[Free reg or BugMeNot] and also here – see below the fold for extracts and quotes.. and the details of some other groups either barred, or cleared to march.From the ABC Eyewitness News report –
Gay groups aren’t allowed in the parade and never have been. And as parade chairman John Dunleavy told The Irish Voice: “If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, would you allow neo-nazis? If African Americans are marching in Harlem do they have to let the Klu Klux Klan in? If we let the ILGO — the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization — in, is the Irish Prostitutes Association next?”
The NY Times report notes that –
The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, will not be marching today in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue despite efforts by her aides and supporters to reach a compromise with parade organizers.
And has the following from Mr Dunleavy –
In a brief phone conversation, Mr. Dunleavy said he would not change the rules for Ms. Quinn. The parade traditionally prohibits most personal and political displays, including banners and T-shirt slogans.
“She is more than welcome to march as the leader of the City Council, but no buttons or decorations in any shape or form,” he said.
Mr. Dunleavy added that Irish-Americans take part in the parade mainly to honor their heritage, not their “lifestyle.” He said that if he were to allow buttons or pins to be worn this year, T-shirts or banners could be next. “I’m the chairman of the parade, and nobody’s worked out a compromise with me,” he said. “What’s there to compromise?”
For 15 years, the parade committee has refused to allow gay people of Irish descent to march as an identifiable group, fending off legal challenges and protests from gay rights groups. Parade officials have contended that the festivities are private and deeply Roman Catholic and that homosexuality is contrary to church doctrine.
While in yesterday’s Irish Times report by Seán O’Driscoll –
The Westmeath-born chairman of Manhattan’s St Patrick’s Day parade has rejected an attempt by the first openly gay leader of New York’s city council to have gay groups included in this year’s parade.
John Dunleavy also accused Senator Hillary Clinton of marching in the parade this year to gain political credibility and accused the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organisation of “dirty pool tactics” while seeking inclusion in the parade.
Mr Dunleavy strongly rejected an attempt by city council speaker Christine Quinn to broker a deal that would allow gay groups to walk with more than 150,000 people who are expected to march in the Manhattan parade tomorrow.
He said Ms Quinn and Senator Clinton never bothered with the parade when they were not vote hunting. “I haven’t heard anything from [ Senator Clinton] since the last time she marched, which was years ago. There has been no communication with her office to say thank you, kiss my rear end or goodbye,” he said.
Mr Dunleavy accused Ms Quinn of using the parade to gain publicity for gay groups and said she was welcome to march as leader of the city council but not as part of a gay group.
But the NY Times also notes other elected representatives’ responses –
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that while he disagreed with the parade organizers, they had the right to decide whom to allow in the parade. The mayor said he would march in the parade, as he has done in previous years.
“I’ve always believed this is a city where all of the parades should be open to everybody,” the mayor said. “Orientation, gender, or whether you’re an elected official or not, should not be the deciding thing.”
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is also expected to march in the parade, but other prominent Democrats, including State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor, will not. Ms. Quinn’s predecessor, Gifford Miller, boycotted the parade when he was speaker.
As Seán O’Driscoll also notes the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform were also barred, this time in the Irish Voice, while other groups were not –
Dunleavy said that ILIR was an advocacy group and therefore could not take part in the march, according to sources.
However, the Irish Republican support group Noraid has been given permission to march as they do every year.
Friends of Irish Freedom, a Republican group that recognizes both dissident Republican paramilitary groups as well as paramilitaries on ceasefire, has also been cleared to march.
The two Republican groups will be marching one after the other in the parade.