The St. Patrick's Day Parade that takes place every year in New York is one of the biggest events of its type, but it has found itself in jeopardy as a result of a dispute between the chairman of the organising committee and LGBT groups in the city.
John Dunleavy, a native of Westmeath and the chairman of the committee that organises the parade, is staunchly opposed to LGBT groups participating in the parade at all, and has faced criticism as a result. For the 2014 parade, his stance on the matter lead to big sponsors like Guinness pulling out of the parade, and NBC nearly didn't broadcast coverage of the parade until a deal was reached allowing [email protected], the LGBT group for employees of the broadcaster, join in with the parade.
For next year's parade however, Dunleavy is once again planning on opposing the inclusion of any LGBT groups in the march, and they are now looking for a new broadcaster to cover the event. According to Advocate, "local Fox station, WNYW-TV Channel 5, has already passed on the rights, and the Tribune-owned station, WPIX-TV Channel 11" is expected to do the same shortly.
Patrick Dunleavy (right) with former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly
Dunleavy stated that he will run for the chairmanship of the group again for next year, and will stand firm on his position against allowing any gay rights groups join the parade, saying to a reporter that "the parade itself is not there to promote anybody’s particular agenda in any way, shape, or form. The parade represents our faith, our heritage, and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we're going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year."