New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn plans to march in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade this year, again snubbing the American parade because of its organisers’ refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march.
Quinn, an Irish-American who is the city’s first openly gay council speaker, is heading to the Dublin parade at the personal invitation of officials there.
She is expected to be joined by other members of the New York City Council, as well as the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the speaker of the Lower House of the Dáil, and Dublin City Council members.
“My participation in Dublin’s parade is also an opportunity to march openly as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, something we have not been able to do in New York City,” Quinn said in a statement today. “I hope my participation in the Dublin march will send a message about the importance of inclusion.”
The New York City parade is organised by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who have denied permission for gays and lesbians to march under their own banner since 1991. The group has said it does not want to politicise the event.
Quinn tried to broker a deal with the group last year after taking office as speaker in January. But it did not work, so she boycotted the event as she had in her previous years as a council member.
During her trip, Quinn also expects to speak about the need for “a lasting peace in Northern Ireland”, her office said.
The Conference for American Ireland Relations will be footing the bill for the New York council trip to Ireland, according to Quinn’s office.