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Burton will decline invite to New York parade over LGBT ban

LGBT groups have called on Irish officials and An Garda Síochána to follow the New York mayor’s lead and boycott the parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2012 in New York.
St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2012 in New York.
Image: Press Association Images

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton said she has told the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore that unless progress “is forthcoming” in relation to the inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, she would not be going.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, she confirmed that she would turn down an invitation to take part in New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade, adding:

When I was there, I also met the gay groups and I advised the Tánaiste that if I went to New York, unless that progress was forthcoming, I wouldn’t be going.

She said that when she was there two years ago, it was her understanding that “positive moves” had been made in relation to making the parade more inclusive, which is something she said she would like to see.

Enda Kenny

Burton added that arrangements of St. Patrick’s Day had not finalised yet, but it is understood that Enda Kenny is going to New York.

She added that she understood why the LGBT community would want to be represented in the parade as it is a “fun day” for Irish people in New York, adding that she fully supported their inclusion.

This development comes following last week’s announcement by the New York Mayor Bill de Blasio that he would not be taking part in the parade because of the ban on participants from carrying gay rights signs.

Last week Gilmore and Kenny said they would not follow his lead but Gilmore said that the parade should be inclusive.


The National Lesbian and Gay Federation and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) have today called on Irish officials to follow the New York mayor’s lead and refuse to participate.

Olivia McEvoy, Chair of the National LGBT Federation, stated that banning people from taking part due to their sexual orientation gave 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”.

She added that the Irish State should not in any way be providing legitimacy to such blatant discrimination by having Government representatives take part in this parade.

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McEvoy said that she supported Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s refusal last year to attend a St. Patrick’s Day dinner in Savannah, Georgia run by the same organisers of the New York parade, on the basis that it excluded women, adding that the same approach should be taken in relation to the LGBT community.

She said the group was “disappointed” in the Taoiseach’s comments that he would be attending the parade, calling on him to reconsider his position.


The group added that they “also believe it is inappropriate and wrong for uniformed members of An Garda Síochána to take part in an event that treats LGBT people in this way, and call for that practice to be ended”.

Read: Kenny plans to participate in St Patrick’s Day parade that NY mayor will boycott>

Read: New York City mayor refuses to take part in St Patrick’s Day parade>

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