Irish President Turns Down Invite to Grand Marshal NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade Because Gays Are Not Allowed

Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, has said no to an invitation to be grand marshal of New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade because it continues to discriminate against gay people, the Irish Times reports:

Mcaleese "The turn down is said to be connected to the issue of gays being refused the right to march in the parade under their own banners, and McAleese’s strong relationship with gay and lesbian organizations in Ireland. As she will also be in the last year of her term in 2011, officials in the president’s office were reluctant to become embroiled in a major controversy about her taking part in the parade which has excluded gay organizations for over 20 years…McAleese’s refusal to accept the grand marshal invite will come as major blow to parade officials who were intent on making the day an historic showcase. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is now being considered a likely replacement. Despite a reputation as a conservative Catholic when she took office, McAleese has become a firm advocate for marginalized groups in Irish societies including gay groups. She is very popular with such groups and was risking putting one of the signature accomplishments of her presidency at risk if she accepted the New York invite to lead the parade."

Homophobe Dolan has insisted "we're not anti-gay…we're pro-marriage."


  1. Rob says

    I’m guessing she’d rather be remembered for putting the signature on Ireland’s Civil Unions law, than be associated with anybody who discriminates.
    Good for her!

  2. David says

    She’s an incredible president! Before being elected as head of state, she worked on the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality and has given inspirational and eloquent speeches to young LGBT people across this island. She’s great!

  3. Andalusian Dog says

    Were that we could be proud to call president such a principled leader, such a…what’s the term?…a fierce advocate.

    But good for President McAleese and good for Ireland! Despite any kind of reputation the place may have, I have visited extensively twice now, and found that the gay issue is such a non-issue there. I was welcomed openly and warmly by all people, straight and gay. Truly the friendliest place on earth.

  4. Andalusian Dog says


    Thanks for posting that speech. It was the very definition of compassion: she put herself in the shoes of LGBT youth and understood the struggles, internal and external. Amazing.

  5. SKOC211 says

    President McAleese was the commencement speaker at my graduation this past May and she fucking rocked. At the time I didn’t know much about her but she kept my attention and I was surprised how progressive she was. This makes me an even bigger fan.

  6. Vlad says

    Wow! I had no idea that Ireland had become so gay-friendly. To think that I once decided not to visit Dublin while I was in the UK because I assumed it was too conservative. I guess I’ll be adding Ireland to my list of future destinations.

  7. SFshawn says

    A President that has integrity and keeps her word. What a concept. Wish we had a president with those kinds of VALUES AND MORALS here in the USA. I know it’s wishful thinking but a gay guy can dream of REAL LEGAL equality here in the US someday can’t he?

  8. ratbastard says

    Good. Speaking as a 1/2 Irish/American, those parade cock sucker organizers who block gays deserve contempt. She’s made a principled stand. I understand she’s from the north; I hope some of the positive things she’s accomplished in the republic are filtering into the north.

  9. says

    @VLAD : Sorry you missed out on that visit…..Ireland has changed immeasurably over the pas ten to fifteen years…..
    Gay is the new black.
    As for the President, she was my examiner in Constitutional law at Trinity…..she is the fairest most open minded person I’ve ever met.
    Now let’s hope that David Norris, gay rights campaigner runs for President of Ireland in the upcoming election.
    And fuck the Ancient Order of Hibernians bigots.

  10. Tone says

    Perhaps they’ll learn not to discriminate now that they’ve been repudiated by the President of their homeland. Bravo President McAleese! And she’s named Mary… go figure!

  11. Steve Collins says

    “Perhaps they’ll learn not to discriminate now that they’ve been repudiated by the President of their homeland.”

    When you say ‘they’, do you mean Irish-Americans?

    ‘They’ are Americans, not Irish. Ireland is not a homophobic country and we don’t like being associated with the homophobia of many in the Irish-American community. The homophobia of the NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade gives Ireland an undeserved bad name.

    ‘They’ have nothing to do with us.

  12. Mr. West says

    What a kick in the crotch to liberal NYC! LOVE IT! That’s an Irishman with some fierce-ass pride. BTW- If anyone still believes there a “curse-o-the-Irish” then go to a bathhouse in Dublin. Some mighty shwingin Shalaylay’s in there!

  13. BG says

    Ireland has probably evolved the fastest on gay rights than any other country. It used to be terrifyingly conservative and then the people woke up and now are more open than ever before. GOOD for them!

  14. walter says

    if you can’t find a grand marshall for the parade run out some member of the pedohilia
    brigade. three cheers for the president of ireland. can someone please foward a copy of her speech to obama “our fierce advocate”
    if only we had leaders with such qualitities
    no we get reid obama palin and the corpse from arizona mccain

  15. Martin Murray says

    Well i don’t think Ireland it the most gay friendly country in the world. But it is certainly extremely accepting and tolerant of its sexual minorities these days. Yes there is the odd homophobic incident, but by and large people in Ireland don’t care if someone is gay (and Irish Times survey last month shows that 2/3 of Irish people support gay marriage and 91% would not have any negative reaction against someone when they hear that he/she is gay).

    President McAleese simply reflects the majority view in Ireland about gay people.

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