New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is losing the faith, trust and support of the city’s Irish community according to a scathing report as the St. Patrick’s Day parade goes ahead without him.
The New York Times reports of a growing disenchantment with Mayor de Blasio who seems to want to embrace every ethnic group in the city bar the Irish.
The paper says that while he wants to close schools for the Chinese New Year, has pledged fealty to an Israeli political group, sprinkles Spanish and Italian phrases into his speeches and speaks frequently of his wife’s Caribbean heritage he has failed to impress the Irish since taking office.
The respected organ says his young mayoralty has been perceived thus far as a series of slights and indignities, skipped parades and absent invitations.
Essentially, according to the Irish, they are being left out in the cold and a number of recent decisions taken by the Mayor back up their claims.
The NY Times cites Mayor de Blasio’s attempts to ban carriage horses from Central Park which has been heavily criticized by Liam Neeson amongst other.
The decision to skip a St. Patrick’s parade in the Rockaways after wrongly suggesting that the event excluded some groups angered residents still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
And his failure to send out invitations for the yearly St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion, a cherished tradition for the city’s Irish elite, caused widespread alarm.
The report says that after repeated inquiries from Irish leaders and a reporter from The New York Times, the mayor’s office announced that it would hold the breakfast on Monday albeit with fewer attendees than in recent years.
His support for immigrant rights has gone down well with the Irish with some adamant that any tension stems from staff errors and poor communication with community leaders, symptoms of a new administration still adjusting to the job.
Brian O’Dwyer, a lawyer and civic activist whose father, Paul, once led the New York City Council and drove a carriage in Central Park as a young immigrant, told the paper: “The missteps do not come from malice, but basically from total inexperience.”
Radio host Adrian Flannelly said Mayor de Blasio has simply failed to recognize the community’s concerns.
Flannelly said: “The mayor really needs advisers as to what’s what. I think he deserves a break for this year. Going forward, there won’t be any excuse.”
In his defence, aides to Mayor de Blasio conceded that the Gracie breakfast had been organized later than usual, citing the frenetic pace of a new administration.
They also highlighted that the mayor has not been shy about showing support for the Irish, noting that he has appeared twice with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and received a warm reception at the inclusive St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens.
Mayor de Blasio’s emphasis on the grass roots may be creating similar tensions in the Irish community according to T. J. English, president of Irish-American Writers and Artists.
English said: “There’s an Irish-American establishment that demands fealty to a certain kind of established order.
“Rank-and-file Irish-Americans, the kind who make up arts organizations in the city, and kids who are politically active on a grass-roots level - you would find most of those people are very supportive of him.”
The decision to boycott the St Patrick’s Day parade which prohibits expressions of gay pride has also provoked debate in Irish American circles.
However writer Malachy McCourt said he has little sympathy for de Blasio’s critics.
McCourt said: “My attitude is, St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland and they all came here and they became conservatives.
“You eventually become the thing you hate the most.”