NLGF respond to NYC Mayor Parade Boycott

The National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) have welcomed New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s decision to boycott the city’s upcoming St Patrick’s Day Parade

“The parade organisers (The Ancient Order of Hibernians) persist in their prejudiced policy of banning people from taking part due to their sexual orientation,” says NLGF Chair Olivia McEvoy.

By doing so, they project a distorted view of ‘Irishness’ that is deeply offensive and completely at odds with the kind of inclusive values that the vast majority of Irish people wish to be associated with today. The decision of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio to boycott the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is very welcome.”

Continuing, the group expressed disappointment at Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s decision to attend the parade.

“The Taoiseach is incorrect when he says no individuals are excluded from the parade as in direct contrast to the many other community groups allowed to march openly with banners identifying themselves, LGBT groups and individuals are expressly prohibited from doing so.

“We strongly urge the Taoiseach to reconsider his views on the matter,” McEvoy added.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Mr Kenny both said last week that they would not follow the lead of Mr de Blasio, but Mr Gilmore said his “views on these issues are well known”.

“I believe these parades should be inclusive,” he said. “I think it is perhaps time that the organisers had another look at the whole issue of inclusion in these parades.

“The mayor made it very clear it was a personal decision. This is a long-standing parade and it is very much part of the St Patrick’s Day events. The Irish Government has always been represented at it, and that should continue this year.”

Media reports also suggest that Minister for Social Protection and Labour deputy leader Joan Burton is expected to turn down an invitation to take part in the controversial parade.