The inclusion of the Celtic supporters club in the parade line of march was announced by parade chairman John Dunleavy at a recent press conference during which the identity of the grand marshal was revealed.
Glasgow Celtic makes up one half of the Scottish city’s “Old Firm” soccer tradition, the other half being provided by longtime rival Glasgow Rangers.
Celtic was founded by and for Catholic Irish immigrants and for many years included only Catholics in its team.
Rangers, in turn, had only Protestant players. The religious exclusivity of each has been watered down to a degree in most recent years, but the rivalry between the teams on the field, and sometimes off it, is as intense as ever.
Dunleavy said that in addition to the Celtic supporters a number of other groups would appear in this year’s parade for the first time.
Meanwhile, the grand marshal for 2003, Ford Motor Company executive James O’Connor, will be officially installed as grand marshal at a ceremony in a midtown Manhattan hotel later this month.
TIMONEY SWORN IN
Dubliner John Timoney was sworn in Monday as chief of the troubled Miami police department.
Timoney, the fourth Miami police chief in four years, pledged a zero-tolerance policy toward corrupt cops.
Even as the former top cop in Philadelphia and No. 2 in New York was taking the oath of office jury selection began in the federal trial of 11 Miami police officers accused of planting guns or otherwise trying to cover up five questionable shootings that left three men dead.
“It is critically important that a police chief support his officers when they are out there doing the right thing,” Timoney said. “However, when an officer commits a wrong act with evil intent, then there must be no safe harbor for such an individual.”
As of this week there is a vacant chair atop the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs.
Rep. Ben Gilman was not sworn in as a member of the 108th Congress Tuesday. He lost his New York seat, which covered all of Rockland County, as a result of redistricting.
Gilman, who is 80, served as a longtime co-chair of the Ad Hoc group and was a pivotal figure on Capitol Hill on Northern Ireland issues.
“Ben Gilman was one of the best congressmen New York and the Irish-American community have had over the past 20 years. He was a gentleman, approachable, fair and objective and unafraid to stand up for what he thought was right,” said Larry Downes, president of Friends of Sinn F