Superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, Dr. Timothy McNiff, will serve the parade as an aide-at-large on March 17

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade will be dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, and also to Catholic education.

The parade’s board of directors met last Tuesday evening in New York to plan for next March 17.  Dr. Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, will serve the parade as an aide-at-large.

“As we march up Fifth Avenue, we celebrate the Good Friday accords, a promising new chapter in Irish history, and we honor [grand marshal] Loretta Brennan Glucksman, who helped write that chapter,” parade board chairman Dr. John Lahey said.

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“We also celebrate Catholic education, which played such an important part in shaping so many of us.  We honor Dr. Timothy McNiff and the dedicated men and women of our Catholic schools for the important work they do.”

The board also elected another new member, Dr. Joe Mulvehill, the CEO of Park Avenue Concierge Medicine and a member of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Foundation.

Dr. Timothy McNiff.

Dr. Timothy McNiff.

In other parade news, Denis McCarthy, the recently elected chairman of the St. Patrick’s Parade and Celebration Committee which operates under the board, has requested a meeting with board members and chairman Dr. John Lahey.  McCarthy wrote a letter to Lahey on December 17 in which he outlined what he called Lahey’s past promises to meet with the committee, and requested a response within 72 hours for what McCarthy wrote is “one more opportunity” for the committee and board to meet.

“May I remind you, that you promised to meet and work with the Parade and Celebration Committee on numerous occasions to include: the December 2015 meeting of the United Irish Counties Association; the 2016 grand marshal’s reception held at the New York Athletic Club; the Parade and Celebration Committee meeting held at Cathedral High School in May, 2016; the January 31, 2017 board meeting of affiliate organizations at Fordham University,” McCarthy wrote to Lahey.

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“In addition, in the April 25, 2016 letter from Chairman Lahey to all parade affiliated organizations, you promised the affiliates the parade board would not make any changes to the parade bylaws without proper input from the affiliated organizations.”

The Parade and Celebration Committee was chaired for decades by John Dunleavy, who declined to stand for re-election in 2015 amid allegations of financial impropriety which in 2016 the New York Attorney General’s Office declined to prosecute.

Board members in 2015 took action to diminish Dunleavy’s role in the parade because of his hardline stance against gay groups having a place in the line of march, and since that time the board of directors has managed the parade – including opening the march to an Irish gay group, the Lavender and Green Alliance, in 2016.

McCarthy had requested to attend the December 12 board meeting, which Lahey denied because he is not a member of the board.

“After the first of the year we would welcome your help and that of our many other volunteers from the affiliated organizations in making our 2018 salute to the grand marshal and aides event at Antun’s a success, in addition to our parade on March 17,” Lahey wrote to McCarthy.

Lahey had extended an offer of four board seats to the leaders of the United Irish Counties, the Grand Council of Emerald Societies, the AOH and the LAOH.  The offer, extended more than a year ago, has not been formally accepted.

New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade plans continue.iStock