The Ancient Order of Hibernians has distanced themselves from a St. Patrick's Day parade on Staten Island that controversially excluded LGBTQ groups from marching under banners. 

The AOH, which is the oldest Irish-Catholic Organization in the United States, said that it had been misrepresented in news reports about the controversy. 

The group issued a statement clarifying their role in the parade's organization. 

"No entity of the Order is permitted to run a Parade as part of the AOH.  

"Any Hibernians who wish to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland and the contributions that the Irish have made to our nation and the world by organizing a parade or event are free to do so but must do so by forming or joining a separate and distinct organization independent of the Ancient Order of Hibernians," the statement read. 

Read more: Staten Island continues to ban LGBTQ group from St. Patrick’s Day parade

The much-maligned decision to exclude LGBTQ groups from marching in the annual parade was made by the Richmond County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Inc, according to the AOH. 

The story has garnered significant interest from local and Irish press. 

The AOH said that it was not surprising that people associate parade organizers with the ancient organization given its close ties to the Irish-American community.

However, it stressed that any parade organizers who happened to be members of the AOH were not reflective of the organization as a whole. 

"It should not be a surprise that people motivated to honor St. Patrick’s Day are also likely to be similarly motivated to belong to the AOH; the AOH encourages both the celebration of Irish Heritage and civic participation.

"However, the individual participation of members of the AOH in an independent parade organization should not be given more weight than the likely membership of committee members in numerous other cultural, religious, or civic groups."

Read more: Irish, Catholic American - why I’m part of the Ancient Order of Hibernians