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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 21 April, 2019
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Drumroll, please... The Grand Marshall of the Paddy's Day parade is...

He’s certainly an able spokes-man.*

ORGANISERS OF DUBLIN’S St Patrick’s Festival have confirmed that 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche will be Grand Marshall of this year’s parade.

The Dundrum man will lead the traditional 2.6km parade down O’Connell Street and through the city centre on 17 March.

Roche — who retired from cycling six years after his historic Paris victory  — also won the 1987 Giro d’Italia. The start of that race will be held in Ireland this summer, with stage three finishing up in Dublin on 11 May.

According to a press release from St. Patrick’s Festival:

Roche was chosen by Festival organisers for his outstanding contribution to the sport of cycling.

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[Image: St. Patrick's Festival]

Nicky Byrne, Katie Taylor, Johnny Giles and late Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew have all led the parade in the capital in recent years.

A campaign to have drag queen Panti Bliss (aka. Rory O’Neill) was launched in the wake of the the RTÉ Panti-gate saga earlier this year — but organisers of the festival said the position had already been filled.

Earlier this month, Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn criticised the board of St. Patrick’s Festival for a lack of imagination, and said organisers had become “complacent”.

*Sorry.

Read: “Low-grade mini-Funderland” not what St. Patrick’s Day should be about — Lord Mayor

Read: Panti Bliss for St. Patrick’s Day parade? It’s looking “unlikely”

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