Dunleavy’s Shillelagh
March 15th, 2007

New York City is hardly a stranger to parade politics but the latest brouhaha over the St. Patrick’s Day parade seems weird – even for this city. After years of banning gays from marching in the
parade – prompting Council Speaker Christine Quinn to decide to do her marching in Dublin this year (see previous post), the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which runs the annual event, decided to go after firefighters. New York’s bravest ordinarily march third in the parade, but this year they will move back in the line of march – some 40 minutes behind the parade leader. The Hibernians’ John Dunleavy “issued his order because last year a group of firefighters from New Orleans joined the parade and unfurled an unauthorized banner thanking their Big Apple colleagues for their help during the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005,” writes FirefightingNews.com.

Then, Dunleavy poured gas on the fire, reportedly telling the Irish Examiner that the firefighters skipped parade planning meetings and have shown up intoxicated to the parade. “I don’t have a problem with the Fire Department,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying. “What I have a problem with is members of the uniformed services showing up on the parade route intoxicated at 12 o’clock.”

But Dunleavy has won little support. Dunleavy “seems to think his authority extends to dishonoring tradition at whim and offending at will,” writes the Daily News. “Dunleavy owes the FDNY a huge apology, and he must restore the department to its rightful place.”

And the Post quotes Dunleavy saying, “I’ve been telling them for years that the parade should only be for firefighters from New York, and when the New Orleans firefighters came up, that was the straw that broke
the camel’s back.”

So, the editorial says, “a demonstration of compassion and unity with their brothers from New Orleans gets the FDNY punished this year?” This decision, the paper
continues, “isn’t about firefighters – or New York. It’s about Dunleavy’s overweening need to show who’s boss.”

By on March 15, 2007, 1:20 pm
In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Dunleavy’s Shillelagh”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Wanted: One More Miracle Says:
    March 16th, 2007 at 7:45 am

    […] Moving away from the controversy over who gets to march where in tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, David Garrard Lowe in the Sun looks at another mainstay of the Irish in New York: St. Brigid’s Church in the East Village. Built to serve the city’s growing Irish community in the middle of the 19th century, the church’s “tall twin spires were a political as well as a religious proclamation” for parishioners from a country where “Roman Catholic churches, if allowed at all, had to be inconspicuous,” Lowe writes. Those spires were demolished in the 1960s, and now Cardinal Egan plans to raze the entire building. […]

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