Sinn Fein’s last minute pull out from cross party ‘St Pats For All’ video

Controversy in the Republic last night over an old problem for Sinn Fein, the St Patricks Day celebrations in the US, where they do things a little lot differently than they do at home. It concerns this cross parliamentary video supporting the St Pat’s For All parade in NYC…

In the US, New York and Boston have continued to ban the participation of LGBT groups. In the case of Boston there’s been substantial progress towards change, but in NYC the Mayor and the City Council are boycotting the main St Pat’s celebrations.

This video was intended organised by FF Senator Averil Power (and shot by LGBT activist Karl Hayden) to send out a powerful message from the heart of Irish government to the Irish America. Though it seems the message was too strong for Sinn Fein’s blood, and they pulled a Senator out just 30 mins before the shoot.

Last night Hayden tweeted…

This was followed by a counter claim by the Sinn Fein LGBT Twitter account to the effect that..

Followed by a claim by one of the participants organiser Fianna Fail’s Senator Averil Power that…

It’s not the first time someone further down the party chain has felt a collar tug from party Headquarters. On this occasion, apparently the message was too strong.

Perhaps one of the problems of being so reliant on wealthy overseas sponsors, is that in the US, the if I pay, I have a say principle still holds…

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  • Delphin

    It has always struck me as odd that SF, a radical socialist party, has widespread support in deeply conservative rural (North) Ireland and the equally conservative Irish-American diaspora. Could it be that the SF movement is just Republican bigotry dressed up as a progressive political party? Surely not.
    Oh, and how does GA afford private health care in the US on an average industrial wage? We need to be told.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Is it not the AoH who organize the St Paddy’s day parades in the US???

  • Old Mortality

    SF has always had two faces: the radical/socialist one is for gathering support from gullible international right-ons, the other traditional Catholic Irish one is for equally gullible Irish Americans who have more money than the latter constituency.
    And if they don’t like homosexuals, SF certainly isn’t going to quarrel about it.

  • Pete Baker


    Sinn Féin have issued a press release on the matter.

    They say they objected to the script.

    Apparently it wasn’t inclusive enough…

    “Senator Ó Clochartaigh then relayed our concerns to Senator Power outlining that we objected to the last paragraph of her script, endorsing one St Patrick’s celebratory event over another but we were happy to read any of the remaining script as presented. Unfortunately Senator Power refused to change her script and what Senator Ó Clochartaigh was to read out in the video so he had no choice but to withdraw his participation in the video.

    Let’s hope they’ve gotten around to informing sinnféinlgbt…

  • Pete Baker


  • Pete Baker

    And from Senator Power’s response to the SF claim

    “In the draft script sent to Sinn Féin on Thursday, the following line had been given to the Sinn Féin Spokesperson ‘We commend the organisers of the St Pats for All parade and hope you have a great day celebrating the diversity and inclusiveness of today’s Ireland.’

    “I hadn’t anticipated that they would have a problem with such a positive and simple statement but when it became clear to me that they weren’t happy, I offered them a choice of any of the other lines in the video. I suggested that they could have the opening line that ‘As Senators and Deputies from all of the main Irish political groups, we are committed to achieving full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.’ I also offered them the final line simply wishing the viewers a Happy St Patrick’s Day.

    I was then told that they didn’t just have a problem with one line, rather they didn’t agree with the overall message of the script and were not happy to participate at all in a video that used the word ‘we’ when criticising the main NYC parade for excluding LGBT groups. The whole point of the video was to send a unified message from all of the participants that the exclusion of the Irish-American LGBT community from the main NYC parade is wrong and that all St Patricks Day events should be open to everyone regardless of their gender, colour, creed or sexual orientation. Sinn Féin clearly weren’t happy to be associated with that message in a video that would be seen in America.

  • Pete Baker

    But at least it meant that Senator Power eventually got an apology, of sorts, from sinnfeinlgbt.

    You didn’t know about it, SFLGBT! That’s something that establishment parties are very good at… 😉

  • Politico68

    Nice try here Mick but unfortunately you have got it wrong and not for the first time. As a gay Shinner i got the fright of my life when I heard about the above. Despite being in college here in San Fran I wasted no time and got onto the Sinn Fein press office in Dublin to find out what was going on. No surprise to discover that FF were up to their dirty tricks again. I am very surprised at Avril for being so crafty with the facts. I had always seen her as being the one of the rare flowers sitting upon the FF dung heap. SF did not want to support the video on the basis that it singled out the New York parade for special mention when in fact there are other parades in the states that take issue with the LGBT community. As such the video should have been targeted directly at ALL of them rather than give the impression that it was OK to discriminate anywhere except New York. SF never claimed that they were not invited as Avril stated, it was the LGBT group who made that assertion; so here again we see Avril playing loose with the truth. Maybe it has something to do with the poll results last week putting SF ahead of FF. In any event it stinks. SF have given full square support to the LGBT community long before the other parties on the island eventually caught up and will continue to do so.

  • Mick Fealty


    They should have left it alone and just done it. Someone in head office has overthought the matter. It wad a simple deal. And now it just looks odd and petulant.

  • Politico68

    …or Avril could have obliged and made the appropriate changes, why just bake half a cake?

  • Pete Baker


    Despite Politico’s attempt at further clarification of Sinn Fein’s position, I would point out that their actual statement, which I linked and quoted from, complains not about the focus on New York, but instead that the video was “endorsing one St Patrick’s event in New York over another” [added emphasis].

    Indeed, that complaint is repeated in the section I quoted, “we objected to the last paragraph of her script, endorsing one St Patrick’s celebratory event over another” [added emphasis].

  • Politico68

    Please feel free to contact the Sinn Fein press office at leinster house, they will happily provide u with the clarification you need.

  • Pete Baker

    The clarification I need?!

    “endorsing one St Patrick’s event in New York over another” [added emphasis].