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Guinness pulls out of sponsorship of NYC Patrick's Day parade at the last minute

Guinness said it was unhappy with the treatment of LGBT groups in the New York City parade.

Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire

GUINNESS HAS WITHDRAWN its sponsorship of the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York city in protest at the treatment of LGBT groups.

Just hours before the event was due to begin, Guinness said that it was unhappy at the ban on people from holding signs on LGBT issues in the parade.

“We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade,” Guinness said in a statement.

As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.

Heineken had already cancelled its sponsorship of the parade, while American brewer Sam Adams pulled out from the Boston parade on Friday.

The sponsorship cancellation comes after New York City mayor Bill de Blasio became the first mayor in 20 years to refuse to take part in the parade over the same issue. De Blasio said that he disagreed with the organisers over the exclusion of some groups.

Boston’s Irish-American mayor Marty Walsh also skipped his city’s parade yesterday after agreement could not be reached on a deal to allow gay and lesbian activists to march openly.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to take part in the New York City parade later today, after repeatedly defending his attendance at the event. The Taoiseach told the Dáil that the parade is about “our Irishness and not about our sexuality”.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton will also be in New York today but said she will not be attending the parade.

The organisers of the New York parade say the event is about tradition and that there is a ban on all posters and banners not explicitly to do with the parade.

Read: 500,000 people, 1 event… It’s the St Patrick’s Day parade in numbers >

Watch: Timelapse video shows Chicago turning the river green >

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