PSNI out, then in but LGBT still in the cold.

This years St Patricks Day parade in New York City has been making headline for all of the wrong reasons this year.

There was the controversy earlier about the refusal to include LGBT groups which led to a boycott of the parade by the Mayor of New York and condemnation from parties back here about the absurdity of in 2014 groups being discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual preferences.

But, yesterday the guys over at LAD, found a bid to keep out another group and that is our own PSNI who were set to march with the Irish police force, An Garda Siochana. This story provoked again more condemnation of the parade like this

Then, it was reported over at Irish Central that there was no attempt to keep out the PSNI, even though the Facebook page which displayed the statement saying that the PSNI were no longer invited has now been deleted. It’s all very confusing but I doubt the Deputy First Minsiter or his leader would go to the trouble of making a declared comment over a rogue Facebook page post. Certainly a lot of damage control will have to take place in the weeks that follow as some of the position of who can attend would need to be reviewed.


The organising committee of the parade are expected to make a statement later which I will add to this post.

Update- Heineken has pulled its sponsorship for the NYC parade


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  • wild turkey

    Growingup in 50s 60s New York City was great

    there was something like 8 or 9 TV channels

    one was channel 11 and their awesome front man, “S’gt” Jack McCarthy.

    Jacks ultimate calling in life was to comment on the NY St Patricks Day Parade. But there were per se no commentators back then. As a kid, and we always had the school day off, the name of the game was to predict when Sgt Jack was so pissed, his commentary became legendary.

    one of his high points was posing, and answering, the following question

    Q: What’s green, five miles long and has an asshole at each end?

    A: The New York Saint Patricks Day Parade

  • Coll Ciotach

    They are not being discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual proclivities per se, that is not true. And why would the British police farce be allowed anyway?

  • cynic2

    “They are not being discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual proclivities per se”

    Yeah …sure

  • cynic2

    Given the link between this parade and Republicanism, many here welcome the inclusion of PSNI

    So if next year they send a delegation to the Belfast OO Parade will that be welcome too?

  • Comrade Stalin

    And why would the British police farce be allowed anyway?

    Because we’ve moved past that kind of bitterness, even if Irish Americans who do not live here haven’t.

  • Pete Baker


    “This story provoked again more condemnation of the parade like this…”

    I think you’ll find that Martin McGuinness was definitely not condemning the parade. Those objecting to the PSNI participation, yes. But Martin wants the PSNI to take part in the parade that others have boycotted…

    In fact, Sinn Féin have been going out of their way to avoid criticising the main NY parade for its lack of tolerance.

    To the point of withdrawing from a cross-party video promoting the alternative St Pat’s for All parade in the city.

    And now the problem has spread to Boston

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh this afternoon confirmed that, despite extensive negotiations, he will not march in today’s parade due to the continued ban on LGBT organisations marching with banners.

    In a statement, he said: “As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city.

    “Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.”

    Mr Walsh, whose parents were born in Connemara, has marched in the Boston parade for years.

    But earlier this year he said he would not march as mayor of the city unless LGBT equality groups were also allowed to.

    He succeeded in bringing the parade organisers to negotiations with the MassEquality group for the first time.

    On Friday, the Boston Beer Company withdrew its sponsorship of the parade over the issue.

  • sectarianheadcount

    Well it’s certainly inclusive in some respects if the PSNI are jogging along.

    Perhaps they could do a live link-up with a few republicans in Maghaberry unable to make it over for this year’s fun?

    Who’ll carry the portrait of Cromwell next year?

    Maybe everyone could dress up as Black n’Tans?

  • Comrade Stalin


    In fact, Sinn Féin have been going out of their way to avoid criticising the main NY parade for its lack of tolerance.

    Gerry Adams said today on Twitter :

    Ireland embraces LGBT community, accepts PSNI & rejects militarism masquerading as republicanism. NY parade should do the same.

  • Can not wait – wake up, go the bar, have ‘kegs and eggs’ and then spend the whole day proving that “to be Irish means to wear green.” When Irish-Americans and the millions of the once-a-year Irish accept a tri-cloured Saint Patrick’s Day, I will again start celebrating the 17th of March 17th.

    In America, it is still possible to be asked: “are you protestant” when ordering Bushmills in an Irish-themed tavern. Happen last December in Wilmington, NC.

    The PSNI should march in New York and I doubt they will carry a portrait of Cromwell or wear black and tan outfits – a simpleton reading of history.

  • Sp12

    “Because we’ve moved past that kind of bitterness”

    Did you see any Tricolours flying on City/Town halls?

  • Canisp

    “In America, it is still possible to be asked: “are you protestant” when ordering Bushmills in an Irish-themed tavern. Happen last December in Wilmington, NC.”

    And in The Wire.

  • cynic2


    I must admit my irony chip overheats when plastic paddies tell me I should get out of Ireland when my family have been here since at least the 1600s and some them moved to America in the 1900s

    Its also hard to take a rise out of them by pointing out that the Brits didn’t commit genocide on the Irish in the way their fore-bearers did on Native Americans. Ignorance is bliss

  • Comrade Stalin

    In America, it is still possible to be asked: “are you protestant” when ordering Bushmills in an Irish-themed tavern. Happen last December in Wilmington, NC.

    The lead character in The Wire, who is Irish-American, castigates his colleague for drinking Bushmills as it’s a Protestant whiskey. He himself drinks Jameson (copiously).

    I think this is about Irish Americans overdoing it as usual. It would surprise me if there were “nationalist” bars in Belfast where they wouldn’t sell Bush.

  • Charles_Gould

    I remember an Australian Irish person hectoring and lecturing me on NI and then telling me that he supported the IRA “until he learnt that they had killed Catholics too”

  • Harry Flashman

    I wasn’t aware that gay people are excluded from the St Patrick’s Day Parade, as far as I know hundreds, who knows perhaps thousands, of gay people have taken part in the parade over the years.

    Fronts which want to promote a particular contentious socio-political agenda may well be excluded from taking part in a privately organized parade by the management of that parade, who have a perfect right to decide who takes part, in the same way I’d imagine that Frank Phelps group would probably not be welcome at a Pride march or British Army veterans would not be welcome at an Easter Rising commemoration. But gays are not banned from taking part in the parade.

    Gays, straights, blacks, whites, Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, Irish or otherwise are perfectly free to take part in the St Patrick’s day parade as long as they abide by the managements rules.

    You know without descending to stereotypes but could the gays stop being such drama queens for a day? The world doesn’t actually revolve around them, they don’t have to have a specific “ooohh look at me, look at me!!” moment at everyone else’s events.

    Jesus if it isn’t reality TV shows, the Winter Olympics or St Patrick’s Day it’s something else, wind yer necks in will ya?

  • Son of Strongbow

    Joining the PSNI marching in New York was an ‘England Get Out Of Ireland’ banner, and a phalanx of Irish Tricolours.

    Surely later in the year we will see the PSNI taking the opportunity to march at home? I’d guess (just to balance things 50/50 you understand) the 12th rather than Gay Pride.

  • gaygael

    That is the link to the parade guidelines. Seems very stuffy and formal.
    Thee is a limit of expression and technically, as this is held and organised by a committee and the ancient order of Hibernians, they can be exempted as they are a faith orientated organisation, from preventing people and groups from marching.

    However LGBT people march in every parade on this island, some more openly than others. Local LGBT groups can march and carry identifying banners and rainbow flags. This is not allowed in New York.
    Obviously I think this is rather bone headed and wrong. Ireland has changed hugely, and LGBT tolerance and nearly full legislative equality has been achieved but there is still huge work to do in relation to health inequalities, remaining legal inequalities, and moving beyond tolerance to normalisation.
    The Ireland on display in New York is not the modern ireland that is increasingly at ease with sexual and religious diversity. Other USA cities have changed their approach on this and the sky didn’t fall in. Only Boston and New York remain. Interestingly, New York took four attempts to vote through equal marriage, passing in June 2012, just in time for the stonewall riots anniversary And New York pride.

    And Harry, you feign to not be descending to stereotypes then unsurprisingly do. LGBT people are a community that was historically criminalised and pathologiesed as mentally ill. We have still not achieved equality and acceptance and that is the direct result of that history. Do not dare dictate to us when and over what we can agitate to help achieve equality. We will not wind our necks in, patticularly not by by the likes of you, who seem to reserve your commentary on slugger for attacking LGBT rights. You may get used to it, we are not going away, and more and mor of us are standing up and being visible.

  • I watched The Wire so long again I forgot about the scene.

    Of all my travels to Belfast, Derry etc. I have never been in a bar that does not sell Bushmills.

  • Harry Flashman

    “the likes of you, who seem to reserve your commentary on slugger for attacking LGBT rights.”

    Hey, have a look at my profile, latest count 1,802 posts. Number of posts about gay issues, off-hand I think less than half a dozen.

    Yeah I’m really obsessed about the LGBT issue.

    You have once again proved my point that no matter what the issue is, St Patrick’s Day, chicken fillets, winter sports, for a certain type of “political” gay person (as opposed to the normal gay people I meet in my day-to-day life who seem to function perfectly well without the need to scream “look at me! look at me! I’m gay!!!!!!” 24 hours a day) the whole world revolves around them and their gayness.

    Get over yourself dude, if the Paddies want to have their parade let them have it, they’re happy to let you join if you want, they actually don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home they really don’t, it’s just that they have their rules about their parade. Just the same way that I imagine a Pride march wouldn’t welcome certain overtly political groups they felt uncomfortable with marching in their parade.

    I remember the happy days when being gay meant you demanded nothing more than tolerance, respect and freedom from persecution, you know the same as the rest of us. When did gays become such hectoring, irritating, whingeing, insistent dour farts? I swear to God the gay lobby is about as joyless as the Orange Order these days.

    We know you’re gay, we know you’re proud, we know you’re not going away and frankly we got over it a long time ago, we actually couldn’t give a flying fart one way or the other to be honest. Lighten the feck up will ye? You’re not that special you know.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Did you see any Tricolours flying on City/Town halls?”

    Interesting point.

    Having said that, why (I ask naively) is the tri-colour the flag of choice for St Patrick’s day?

    I mean, there’s two states on the island and the tricolour doesn’t really represent all of the the people on the island.

    Whereas the old golden harp on a green background (the flag that Irishmen have taken with them around the world for centuries) would be arguably more versatile and representative.

    Using a harp flag would even throw a nod in the direction of Montserrat, another place that has St Pat’s day as a public holiday.

    I know there are those who favour St Pat’s cross but to be fair, it’s not exactly flavour of the month with most nationalists and it could be off putting to more extreme Protestants given it’s use by the Catholic college in Maynooth (if I recall correctly…)

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    “I think this is about Irish Americans overdoing it as usual. It would surprise me if there were “nationalist” bars in Belfast where they wouldn’t sell Bush.”

    I hope it never comes to that, but then that would be an interesting pickle: if one was to get shot of ‘proddie’ booze then Guinness, Jameson’s and Powers would be off the table for a start and maybe even Smithwick’s and Tullamore D.E.W too.

  • gaygael

    I am a political person. Lgbt issues is one of my areas of interest. I don’t really think you have a grasp of lgbt history and politics when you try to potray it as trying to make it about us. We want full equality. Simple. I want tolerance respect and freedom from persecution, but that is far from the reality here in Northern Ireland and is also true to varying degrees throughout the world. Have you seen the news from Uganda, Nigeria and Russia recently on these issues? Even the most tolerant states and countries still see discrimination, prejudice and violence. We have a long long way to go.
    Please don’t try to portray me as some dour funless activist. I’m great craic at parties! And you totally miss the point with your ‘privacy’ comment. I want to walk my street holding my boyfriends hand. Just like you may take for granted with your female partner. I want to do that without fear of intolerance, violence or discrimination. The privacy comment or behind closed doors is about trying to make us invisible and hidden. We are NOT going back into the closet.
    Please educate yourself. Look at the stats for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in Northern Ireland and there historic under exporting. Look at the health inequalities experienced by lgbt people. Look at the disparity between legal rights and responsibilities inferred by marriage versus civil partnership. Look at the people still with historic convictions from before decriminalisation. Look at the casual homophobia from posters on here, our politicians and faith leaders.
    Then dare to dictate to me as an activist what I can and can’t campaign, lobby and agitate around.
    I don’t want to be special. I just want to be equal. That’s not a huge demand. And if you stand in the way of it you are on the wrong side of history. If you got over it a long time ago, then you wouldn’t be using casual stereotyping language and wasting your energy in defending a parade that excludes us. Just saying like.