Irish-American Grievances

Monday, March 17, 2014

A stack of shamrock hats sit on a vendor's table on seventh avenue in midtown Manhattan the Friday before St. Patrick's Day. A stack of shamrock hats sit on a vendor's table on seventh avenue in midtown Manhattan the Friday before St. Patrick's Day. (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

On St. Patrick's Day, Niall O'Dowd, publisher of the website, founder of Irish America Magazine and Irish Voice newspaper, and former chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, explains why some in the Irish-American community feel that the new mayoral administration is slighting them.


Niall O'Dowd

Comments [15]

Ben Jones from Hamilton Heights

This guy is ridiculous...He says the parade doesn't represent the Irish-American community. Fair enough. But then how does not walking in the parade mean the mayor is slighting the community?

Mar. 18 2014 04:24 PM
Tish from Manhattan

I must be naive as I've always thought that a major goal of eliminating discrimination was so you could just BE. And then, if you want, you can be part of anything or any group. Like being able to live your life as (fill in the blank: gay person, person of color, vegan, Irish girl, etc. etc.) and either join in or not because no one could stop you or force you.

But it seems I misunderstood. Instead it means you get a placard and a float. Who knew?

Mar. 17 2014 11:22 AM
Brian Andersson from The Bronx, NY

No one is excluded from the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Gays have marched in every single one since the beginning and continue to do so and they are welcome. But, here's the rub: this private parade has regulations. These regulations also prohibit such groups as pro-life anti-abortion groups from marching under their own banner. There is no political signage allowed (other than "England Out of Ireland"). Sadly, no parade in the last 20+ years has gone forth without this discussion. Sadly, those not in total agreement with groups' "right" to march are branded and called names.

Essentially, it is this: today is about St. Patrick and about being Irish in New York. Period. It's not about you.

Come and march with us.

Mar. 17 2014 10:25 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I didn't catch what statement was the basis for Mr. O'Dowd's saying that Mayor DeBlasio was accusing the whole Irish-American community of homophobia, rather than just the organization that runs the parade. Can someone tell me what he actually said when he announced he wasn't going to go (a decision I support)?

Mar. 17 2014 10:21 AM
BB from NYC

Everbody knows that no political group can carry a banner Bobbie kennendy was almost banned in 1968 because he was going to carry presidental banners. Pro life groups are banned from using banners. so why should gay political group be any diffrent.

Mar. 17 2014 10:20 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

The discrimination is shameful but really, let's just ban all these stupid parades. What positive effects have ever come about from any of these unnecessary gatherings?

Mar. 17 2014 10:19 AM
fbrennan from New York

I agree with Mr. O'Dowd 100%. I voted for Mayor De Blasio and totally support gay rights, but this is an example of the mayor's bigotry. Not every event is about sexual orientation. As a practicing Catholic, and a political liberal, I am disappointed. Also, I am curious as to where the Central Park horses will go when they are banned. I see the carriages often and the horses always seem healthy and well cared for. The drivers will be out of work and I doubt the horses will be moved to a lovely farm where they will graze forever.

Mar. 17 2014 10:16 AM
Kate from Hamilton Heights

Well it isn't organized by the Irish community, right? It's organized by the Hibernian society - a Catholic organization, isn't that right? So it isn't a celebration of the Irish, it's the celebration of the Irish Catholic community. The basic issue is that it is organized by a RELIGIOUS organization -- isn't that the real issue?

Mar. 17 2014 10:13 AM
BK from Hoboken

If the parade organizers want to discriminate, fine and let them deal with the repercussions- politically, culturally, and economically.
On the other hand, I also feel that if any group wants to use public streets for their own celebration, than it should come with conditions.
Tough call.

Mar. 17 2014 10:12 AM
Robert from NYC

I'm not Irish, today, tomorrow nor was I yesterday. Happy Holiday to you who are, but I'm not.

Mar. 17 2014 10:11 AM
LGNY from Brooklyn, NY

I like this call-in lady who is talking about Irish inclusivity, and her aunt calling the parade Amateur Irish. The mayor is on the side of justice with this one.

The Archdiocese of NY is the power behind the St Pat's Parade, and O'Dowd knows it. Doesn't matter if it's a Committee or AOH on the permit. The long ago shriveled Irish power structure of NYC has to come to grips with their own irrevelvancey, and certainly their own inability to bully the rest of the city.

Mar. 17 2014 10:09 AM

de Blasio is not only making a political statement by not marching in the parade: its personal too. As a reminder, his wife has previously identified as a lesbian and I'm guessing currently identifies as bisexual. Would a gay mayor march?

Mar. 17 2014 10:08 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

As an Irish-American, I stand behind DiBlasio's decision not to march in this parade. If the parade's organizers can't be inclusive, and move forward into the future, I would rather have a mayor with strong opinions about inclusiveness than someone who has to play nice with these people. This parade & its ideolgy, and the tradition of people getting heinously drunk on St. Patrick's Day, is not how I want to celebrate my heritage.

Mar. 17 2014 10:08 AM
Laura Faux from NYC

TOTALLY in support of the Mayor in his choice not to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade. The discrimination has gone on long enough; it is hypocritical for any liberal to support this event. Appeasement has not worked to date; why should it continue under the new administration?

Mar. 17 2014 10:06 AM
Robert from NYC

A member of the Irish cabinet herself decided not to participate at her invitation for the same reasons the mayor decided not to participate, NPR reported it this morning on the news. Nobody should have to try to "bring the two sides together" they should just do it, open the parade to ALL. This is bull crap.

Support the mayor.

Who more than the Irish should understand discrimination. They forget the past when they were considered less than dirt in the early days. We have enough reminders of it in movies and literature. Stop the discrimination.

Mar. 17 2014 10:06 AM

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