With three months to go until the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, dialogue is ongoing between the parade’s board of directors and its Parade and Celebration Committee in an attempt to work together on the 2016 march.
On Monday evening, sources close to the board stressed to the Irish Voice that a deal has yet to be reached. A report appeared on the Irish Echo’s website on Monday afternoon claiming that attorneys for both sides issued a joint statement saying that the board and the Parade Committee “will work together to see that the 2016 NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade is held.”
However, such a statement was never agreed between the attorney representing the board, Mitch Mandell, and Francis Young, who has been acting on behalf of the former Parade and Celebration Committee Chairman John Dunleavy in a lawsuit Dunleavy has taken against board chairman Dr. John Lahey, and board member Frank Comerford, an executive at NBC, whose local affiliate, WNBC, broadcasts the parade.
“No way was there agreement to issue a press statement, and Mr. Young knows this,” a source told the Irish Voice.
“Right now the sides are trying to find common ground. They are not working together on the 2016 parade as of yet. We will see what happens.”
Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University, plans on meeting with John Tully, an attorney who was unanimously elected to replace Dunleavy as Parade and Celebration Committee chairman by the parade’s affiliated organizations last month. A new slate of committee officers was also appointed by delegates in an election that has not been recognized by the board of directors.
On December 8, Young filed another affidavit in Bronx Supreme Court on behalf of Dunleavy claiming, among other charges, that Lahey has “been very busy…intimidating and threatening the livelihoods and reputations of several individuals who have dedicated several decades of their lives to organizing and managing the parade,” the 19-page affidavit claimed.
The attorneys for both sides met last week in the Bronx. Mandell, acting on behalf of the board, is preparing a defense that will be completed by the end of December, with Dunleavy’s lawsuit, which is supported by the parade’s affiliates, expected to be heard in January.
Dunleavy’s expenditures while he served as chairman of the Parade and Celebration Committee are currently under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office, which has requested additional documentation connected to a forensic audit of parade finances which uncovered “misuse” of parade funds.
The planning of the 2016 parade, which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, has been proceeding under the board of directors for several months despite the controversy over the parade’s leadership.
“Regardless of everything that’s been going on, the parade on March 17 will be perfect, that’s for sure,” a source told the Irish Voice.