Guinness joins NY mayor in parade shun

Published Monday, 17 March 2014
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The mayor of New York's decision to boycott the annual St Patrick's Day parade has highlighted an ongoing campaign for the event to include openly gay people.

Guinness joins NY mayor in parade shun
Protestors at the NYC St Patrick's Day parade on Monday. (© Getty)

Bill de Blasio is the first mayor to avoid the event since 1993, when the ban against openly gay participants was imposed.

Heineken has withdrawn its support because of the ongoing exclusion, and on Sunday, Guinness pulled its sponsorship of the event, which is the oldest Irish tradition in America.

"We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation," a Diageo spokesperson explained.

"We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy."

Despite the mayor's absence, Taoiseach Enda Kenny who is on a visit to the US, is taking part in the parade, commenting that he had no control over the conditions imposed on the parade.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh also vowed not to take part in the city's parade on Sunday unless LGBT individuals were included - but his last minute negotiations to allow a group of gay military veterans to march failed.

Local brewer Boston Beer also pulled its sponsorship because of the row.

The New York event also stirred controversy in Northern Ireland after it was announced that PSNI officers would march for the first time.

TUV leader Jim Allister said on Monday that the guidelines made it clear that it is a "deliberately anti-British event" as apart from identifying banners, the only other permitted are those that proclaim 'England Get Out of Ireland'.

"Parading behind such a banner is no place for the PSNI. I am therefore demanding that the Chief Constable explain himself and this calculated slight on the unionist majority in Northern Ireland," he said.

At the time, ACC Alistair Finlay said the PSNI was participating due to Northern Ireland hosting of the World Police and Fire Games last year.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Rachel in New York wrote (181 days ago):
And Jim Allister what about the anti catholic orange parades in Belfast on the 12th July every year. No mention on them sir.
dex in belfast wrote (182 days ago):
your a fool jim
ady in Cookstown wrote (182 days ago):
So can we all look forward to the Gay and Lesbian lodges parading at "Orangefest" this year ? Should be a very colourful sight.
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (183 days ago):
Jim Allister lol
D. in Tyrone wrote (183 days ago):
A very, very narrow definition of Irish, determined by people who believe an Irish forefather gives them the right to determine what that definition is. A little bit of the same arrogance which gives Gombeens here the fantasy that they are the real government of Ireland, placing mortars on the gates where the generations who genuinely suffered are buried. A sad day for real Irishmen, those who seek a true Brotherhood for this complicated island. If all the children of the nation are not treated equal, if Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter are not cherished then what is the use in this celebration apart from a bonanza for drink companies?
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