Senior figures in the Irish American community are bracing themselves for a major effort by city officials in New York to take action against the St. Patrick’s Day Parade if the gay marchers issue is not resolved.
Already there are strong indications that the St. Patrick’s annual breakfast hosted at Gracie Mansion by the mayor may not take place.
Irish officials have heard nothing from Mayor De Blasio’s office about an event that has become an annual highlight of the St. Patrick’s season and would have been planned by now in the Bloomberg era.
In addition, there is no person appointed as ethnic liaison to the Irish American community to date.
Irish government ministers, including Prime Ministers have attended in the past, as have the parade leadership and Ancient Order of the Hibernians (AOH) presidents.
As for the parade itself, insiders expect nothing to happen this year, but have already been warned that the parade could be significantly shortened next year as it has been in recent years and other retaliatory actions taken.
They are not ruling out new court challenges to the parade which, while it is a private institution, uses city services heavily.
An effort by some city officials to have firefighters and police march without uniforms was rejected, but opponents say it could well be resurrected in time for next year.
“The Irish are in the crosshairs” is how one senior AOH figure put it to me.
“This is a very different City Hall.”
Ironically most Irish organizations supported Christine Quinn, the LGBT City Council president, who had deep roots in the Irish community during the recent election.
But LGBT supporters have strong supporters in place in key areas in the De Blasio administration including the mayor’s wife, a former lesbian activist.
“The parade gives them a perfect target,” said a leading insider. “They are determined to overcome the gay marching issue once and for all, this is what happens when you lose power.”
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