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Chairman of New York St Patrick's Day parade out after opposition to gay groups marching

John Dunleavy was the chairman for 22 years.

THE CHAIRMAN OF the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York, John Dunleavy, is to be replaced.

The Irish Central reports that the decision was made in a meeting of the parade officers and board members.

It comes after the 78-year-old said last month that gay groups would “have a problem” marching in next year’s event.

St Patricks Day Parade Gays Cardinal Timothy Dolan, left, and St. Patrick's Day Parade chairman John Dunleavy, right. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Dunleavy spoke about running for another term on a video that was on the parade’s official Facebook page, in it he also commented on the inclusion of gay groups in next year’s march, saying:

“The parade itself is not there to promote anybody’s particular agenda in any way, shape or form.

The parade represents our faith, our heritage and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we’re going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year.

The video was removed from the Facebook page after it was reported on in the Irish Voice.

Dunleavy was also offering the TV rights to the march to other local networks, in retaliation at NBC for being part of a compromise that allowed OUT@NBCUniversal to march behind its own banner this year.

St Patricks Day Parade Source: AP/Press Association Images

OUT is the network’s LGBT support group, and their participation marked the first time that a gay group marched up Fifth Avenue under its own banner.

Dr. John Lahey, the parade’s vice chairman and president of Quinnipiac University, said he was prepared to resign his position as chairman of the parade’s media deals if Dunleavy and his allies mustered enough support to prevent gay groups from taking part in next year’s event.

It is not yet known who will replace Dunleavy as chairman.

Read: Charlie Flanagan will march in the New York Paddy’s Day parade, despite Irish LGBT ban>

Read: Inside the 25-year fight to let Irish LGBT people march in New York on Paddy’s Day>

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