The Irish government should seriously consider sending Health Minister Leo Varadkar to New York this year to take part in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

It would send a powerful message of inclusion from Ireland to a parade battling for over 20 years with the divisive issue of LGBT groups marching.

Thanks to more enlightened leadership this year, an accommodation has been made allowing an LGBT group with NBC, the official broadcaster of the parade, to march, but the matter is far from settled.

Irish gay groups, most notably the Lavender and Green Alliance, who have kept an Irish presence for gay Irish immigrants all these years, are still seeking a way to be included.

A way should be found. Perhaps they could march with Minister Leo Varadkar, who publicly came out this past weekend.

The presence of a gay Irish government minister at the parade would signal the Irish government’s determination that the parade reflect the reality of modern day Ireland as well as Irish America.

Incredible to think that homosexual acts were criminal in Ireland as recently as 1993.

Varadkar, a poised communicator, would give the message that Ireland has moved on from what continues to be a torrid and divisive issue with some Irish American organizations.

While some will argue that the parade is an internal matter for the organizers the fact is that the Irish American community has been tarred in general with the accusation of intolerance because of past parade opposition.

Angry scenes on the parade route have become a TV staple of St.Patrick’s Day coverage alas.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has forced the issue towards either compromise or continued confrontation by refusing to march in his first year in office.

His intentions this year are not yet known and there is no doubt that the parade leadership has taken a major step by conceding the principle of allowing a gay group to march.

It is doubtful that Minister Varadkar wants to see himself as a gay icon always fighting battles associated with their issues.

But this one is unique and special and has been a massive retarding force on the image of the Irish in America and in Ireland whether they like it or not.

The Irish government has a very important role to play on this issue. By nominating Varadkar they will ensure that voice is heard and the direction they wish to see the parade go in is towards inclusion.

It could be the groundbreaking step that allows the issue to be resolved.

Sending Leo Varadkar to NY for St. Patrick's Day this March would be a powerful message of inclusion and tolerance.Photocall Ireland