The organizer of London’s St Patrick’s Day Parade has attacked the planned New York March 17th celebrations for banning gay pride signs, branding the move ‘out of touch.’
Catherina Casey, chair of the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Advisory Forum, said celebrations of Ireland’s patron saint must give “everyone” the chance to celebrate their heritage.
“But obviously, within the organizational levels at St Patrick’s in New York, that progression of thinking has not taken place,” she told The Irish Post.
Ms Casey added, “These people have got to move on and somebody has to tell them to do that. Someone has to go in there and say ‘you have got to move forward’.”
Ms Casey said such an approach was at odds with the views of 21st century Irish society.
“This is not a reflection of Irish people, this is a reflection of a pocket of people in one place,” she added.
Ms Casey also said such a situation would never be allowed to arise in London.
“We would not be allowed to get away with that (banning gay pride signs),” she explained.
“We need to show that we are in tune with contemporary society, so for us it would not be a question, as that is part of our society. People would completely object and rightly so if we were so limiting.”
Cecily Maher, who will lead the London-Irish LGBT group under a rainbow banner in the English capital’s parade this weekend, said she was “disappointed” by Taoiseach (Ireland's Prime Minister) Enda Kenny’s decision to take part in the New York parade.
Ms Maher warned that by attending the Taoiseach risks making vast swathes of Irish people feel isolated by their government.
“The majority of Irish people support gay rights, so he would also not be reflecting them if he takes part,” she added.
Ms Maher also dismissed the Taoiseach’s attempt to dismiss criticism of his attendance by citing his support for a referendum on gay marriage.
“Those are two different issues,” she said.
“So while we welcome his support for referendum, we would also expect his support for the LGBT community having the freedom to walk in a parade that represents Irishness and what it is to be Irish.
“For some Irish people that is about being LGBT and that is as much a part of them as being an Irish dancer or in a sports club.”
Kenny's cabinet colleague Joan Burton has turned down the chance to march in this year’s parade.