In 2014, six officers from the PSNI made history by marching in the NYC parade, displaying a unified front with members of An Garda Siochana, the Irish police force.
This was considered highly significant given the parade’s Republican history and present day rules, which stipulate that the only flag flown be the Irish tricolor and that the only banners permitted aside from those identifying the county associations and other contingents read “England Get Out of Ireland.”
At the time, Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny said, “We have moved on from blockages of the past to open doors for the future. I am very happy to see this in New York City this week with members of the PSNI and An Garda Siochana joining forces.”
However, as reported by the Belfast News Letter, PSNI Superintendent Samuel Donaldson said yesterday, “We can confirm that there will be no PSNI officers attending the 2015 New York St Patrick’s Day parade in an official capacity.”
It has been suggested that their decision not to participate in the 2015 parade is linked to the Parade Committee’s selection of Martin Galvin, the former head of Northern Irish Aid (NORAID), as one of the official aids to Grand Marshal Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Jim Allister, head of the Traditional Unionist Voice party, told the News Letter, “Martin Galvin was once on the run from police officers in Northern Ireland and I wrote to request an assurance that we would not be in the ridiculous position that the PSNI will be lining up to march behind him at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in New York.
“I welcome the fact that the PSNI have now assured me that they have not been invited to this year’s event.”