Major  changes at the New York St.Patrick’s Day parade committee will see long time chairman John Dunleavy step down after the 2010 event which is the 250th parade say sources.

The inside word is that in his place will be taken by John Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut  and the first ever American–born chairman of the parade if he succeeds Dunleavy.

Dukleavy, a former bus driver and native of Westmeath in Ireland,will step down after a controversial reign in which his adamant stance against Gays in the parade won him both praise and criticism.

 Lahey is a very impressive figure, head of Quinnipiac which he has transformed into a top-notch college which has just opened a new medical school and also a fervent supporter of Irish issues. He staged the very impressive Irish Famine exhibit at his college last year.

Lahey has apparently beaten out Hillary Beirne, nephew of the former head of the parade,  Frankie Beirne.

If Beirne is  passed over for the top job it seems certain to annoy the more conservative forces in the parade.