A coalition of pro-life activists gathered on the sidewalk across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on St. Patrick’s Day to bring attention to the issue of abortion.

Led by Irish Pro-life USA, the coalition urged that a pro-life group, marching with its own banner, be included in the parade honoring St Patrick. 

“We are shocked and bewildered as to why the parade organizers do not rush to allow a pro-life group march in this massive parade honoring St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York,“ said John Aidan Byrne, leader of Irish Pro-Life USA.  

“We urge the parade leaders to show courage, backbone, and fortitude in the face of any pro-life hostility it may be facing in the ranks of government and City Hall.”

The pro-life rally received an endorsement from radio personality Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. “Great job everyone,” said Sliwa, as he stepped by to show his support. “Love what you’re doing,” he added before he departed to rejoin the parade.

Pro-life activist Phil McManus, a retired Irish American New York City police officer with roots in Co Cavan, said he was delighted to join the rally along Fifth Avenue and was especially pleased with the warm welcome the rally received from many people in town to watch the parade.   

Byrne, of Irish Pro-Life USA, said the pro-life rally was warmly greeted by several parade officials as well as throngs of marchers up Fifth Avenue in the line of march. 

“This was beautiful pro-life witness at the parade today,” he added. “It was wonderful to get the big cheers and thumbs up from many marchers as we watched them from the sidelines. Clearly, they would welcome a pro-life group with its own banner in the line of march up Fifth Avenue.

“On the feast of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York,  we pray for the end of taxpayer-funded and legalized abortion in Ireland and New York, and that resources and political attention focus instead on assisting mothers and families coping with crisis pregnancies. We also urge the Irish government to listen to the many voices of compassion and decency in the pro-life community as it conducts its three-year review of Ireland’s abortion law, which was enacted on January 1, 2019.”

*This column first appeared in the March 30 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.