What would the South Boston parade be without controversy? A year after the issue of gay marchers was settled a new controversy has erupted.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced after meeting with police that the parade route which was dramatically shortened last year because of “snowmageddon,” will be similarly shortened this year.
Those who thought that was a once-off however are bitterly disappointed. The route is now only two miles - far shorter than it was.
Mayor Walsh released a statement late Tuesday afternoon. “After consulting with (Police) Commissioner Evans, I have decided that it is in the best interest of public safety, while balancing the historic tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to use the same route that we did last year for this year’s parade.”
The Allied War Veterans the organizers are less than pleased with this news. “We stand united in opposition of the restriction put on us by local government,” said Tim Duross.
“Changing this route unnecessarily disrupts and insults our community and our heritage,” Duross said.
The permit for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was granted with the proviso that the march is shortened to “mitigate public safety and congestion concerns.”
Police Commissioner Evans said the shorter route really helped police and emergency vehicles move around much easier.He stated there were far fewer arrests and $90,000 in overtime was saved.
The Boston Globe stated that calls for police assistance dropped from 239 to 166, and requests for emergency medical services dipped from 143 to 63 from 2014 to 2015.
On Wednesday, organizers were angry.
“Please help us maintain the traditional parade route as a salute to all of South Boston veterans,” said William Desmond, commander of the Allied War Veterans, during the news conference.
“If it ain’t broke, folks, you know the line,”
Tim Duross, the parade organizer, said“If public drinking is our crime, we plead guilty as charged. But we think much worse things have happened in other neighborhoods.”