By Jim Smith
BOSTON — The controversy surrounding shamrock displays in the city’s housing developments, which has been simmering in South Boston for the last month, has generated as statement of clarification from the Boston Housing Authority. The clarification, issued Monday by agency director Sandra Henriquez, states that there is "no directive by the BHA to take down shamrocks, and the BHA is not equating shamrocks with other symbols that were discussed in the diversity training such as swastikas or Confederate flags."
As reported in last week’s Echo, the agency had identified shamrocks as one of a number of "bias indicators" which were deemed offensive by some minority residents.
Monday’s clarification followed a meeting between Mayor Thomas Menino and City Council President James Kelly, according to Robin Bavaro, spokesperson for the mayor.
Kelly had been critical of the BHA since rumors began circulating in South Boston weeks ago that the housing agency and some minority tenants were looking with disfavor upon shamrock displays in the housing projects.
Boston City Councilor Francis "Mickey" Roache told the Echo Tuesday that the BHA may want to reexamine its policies and practices. "The Irish are a proud people, and they’ve clearly been insulted by all of this," Roache said. "They [BHA officials] should step back and start reaching out to all groups, including the Irish."
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