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Speaking today, Deputies Jerry Buttimer (FG) and John Halligan (Independent), along with Senator Ivana Bacik (Labour Party), have commended Senator Averil Power (FF) for organising a cross-party video message in support of the inclusive ‘St. Pat’s for All’ parade in New York City to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
The three Oireachtas members said today:
“We were all delighted to participate in this video, which was a collaborative project. Each of us was given the opportunity to change the lines provisionally given to us in the draft script and some of us did indeed do so. It was made clear to us at every stage that the intention was to agree on a wording that everyone was happy with.
“We regret that no representative from Sinn Féin took part, but we know that every effort was made by Senator Power to ensure that they would participate. We understand that the Sinn Féin representative did not wish to read out a particular message, but then refused an offer to read out a different line instead and made it clear that the party’s concern was in fact with the overall message of the script.
“We believe that the video message recorded by representatives of the four largest political groupings in the Oireachtas sends out a very important message in support of an inclusive parade, which celebrates among other Irish-American groups, members of the LGBT community, a group whose contribution to Irish-American society broadly deserves to be celebrated openly and proudly, along with the many other diverse groups that make up the modern global Irish community. We commend Senator Averil Power for taking this initiative to organise a cross-party message of support for the St. Pat’s for All parade organisers, and we wish them every success with their parade, and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”
Senator Ivana Bacik: I am honoured to second the motion and follow Senator Zappone's powerful speech proposing it. I welcome the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, to the House. I am delighted that he is present to respond to our contributions. I also welcome members of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, GLEN, Marriage Equality and others in the Visitors Gallery. In particular, I acknowledge Ms Gilligan, Senator Zappone's wife.
Speaking yesterday in the Seanad, Senator Ivana Bacik welcomed the announcement by Deputy Labour Party leader and minister, Joan Burton TD, that she will refuse an invitation to the controversial St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City, due to the continued exclusion of openly LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people from the event.
Minister Burton joins the Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, who will also be staying away from the Parade due to its discriminatory policies.
“I fully support Minister Joan Burton in her welcome decision not to participate in an event that sends a message of exclusion and intolerance towards a whole community. The discriminatory stance of the parade organisers is out of keeping with a modern and progressive Irish identity that seeks to embrace diversity. I would urge other Irish ministers and political leaders to follow the principled stand taken by Minister Burton and Mayor De Blasio.
“Unlike the many other community groups allowed to participate, LGBT Irish-Americans are specifically barred from displaying anything that would identify them as being from the LGBT community. I do not believe that this principle should be applied to a group of people whose contribution to Irish-American society broadly deserves to be celebrated openly and proudly, along with the many other diverse groups that make up the modern global Irish community.”