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IrishCentral.com also reported that Bloomberg’s comments were made at the beginning of a strange speech. During his speech Bloomberg asked when the parade was being held, and adding that it was good it was always on the same day so he wouldn't confuse it with Columbus Day.
For many, Bloomberg’s comments came as a surprise due to the close relationship he has cultivated with the Irish American community. He is also a frequent visitor to Ireland and has advised on economic issues there.
John Dunleavy, the chairman of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, told “The New York Times” that Bloomberg’s comments were “a shock.”
He said, “In this day and age for the mayor of the city of New York to make comments like that is outrageous and totally uncalled for. He wouldn’t make a joke about any other ethnic group.”
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released a statement which read, “Because of the mayor’s long history of support for the Irish community, his remarks last night were both surprising and inappropriate.” She added, though, that she was glad he issued an apology.
Christopher Cahill, the executive director of the Society, believes Bloomberg’s remarks were not meant to be “offensive or defamatory.” However, he said, “I’m certain there were many people in the audience who would have felt that they were not the remarks that would have been expected.”
Adrian Flannelly, host of a Irish American radio show and Bloomberg’s Irish liaison, believes Bloomberg’s comments were taken out of context. He said, “It would be sinister to think otherwise. We are a nation of wisecrackers—that’s what we do—and it was strictly in that sense.”
Bloomberg had been addressing a crowd of about 100 people marking the launch of the book “Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade.” Also present was the grand marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mary Higgins Clark, Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Director General of the American Irish Historical Society Dr. Kevin Cahill.