Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore criticized the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade for its ban on LGBT groups, saying, “Exclusion is not an Irish thing.”
Gilmore, who assumed his new post in the last week, made the remarks Wednesday during a historic meeting with Irish LGBT leaders at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan. In addition to the gay boycott, many allied political leaders avoid the St. Patrick’s Day in New York City because its sponsoring organization prohibits LGBT participants from marching under the own banners.
The Irish Voice reported on the meeting with Gilmore.
"What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness,” he said. “I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland."
"This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let's be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing..... I think that's the message that needs to be driven home,” he said.
Gilmore said that as the government prepares to draft a new constitution for Ireland in 2016, it planned to introduce a mandate to hold a discussion at the constitutional convention about including marriage equality.
According to the Voice, “Attendees at the meeting included Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay, Co-Chair's of the inclusive Saint Pats For All parade in Queens; Council Member Daniel Dromm Chair of the Immigration Committee; journalist and New York Times contributor Michael Meenan; Father James J. Morris, priest and social worker and Sean Cahill, Managing Director of GMHC.”