By Ray O’Hanlon
The County Cork Association in New York has protested against the expected denial again this year of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade line of march to the Irish-American press.
In a letter to parade committee chairman John Dunleavy, the association said that it was "dismayed" to learn that for the third consecutive year the line of march would not be appearing in any Irish American newspaper.
"We must assume that those from outside the Irish-American domain will perceive this inexplicable, and illogical, scenario as evidence of a fractious community, divided in turmoil," the letter said.
"Such a condition will only reinforce the stereotype of the fighting and disagreeable Irish, and serve to trivialize, yet again, this annual celebration of our culture and achievement."
The letter stated that considerable confusion had resulted in recent years because of the absence of the line of march from the Irish American weeklies, including the Echo.
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The result had been "chaos" affecting watchers and marchers alike "due to inaccuracies published in the New York Post," the letter said.
The Post has a contract with the parade committee that allows it to publish the line of march. At the recent installation of the 2001 grand marshal, parade committee executive secretary James Barker revealed that the Post had committed itself to carrying the line of march through 2005.
The Cork Association pointed out that the Irish American papers had been able to act as a conduit between parade organizers and the public over the years.
"The New York Post, because of its remoteness from the minuti’ of the Irish-American community, could never hope to assume such a role," the letter said.
At the same time, the letter, signed by association president, James Browne, and recording secretary, Patrick Hurley, made the point that the association did not disagree in principle with giving the line of march to the Post.
Indeed, the parade committee’s "enterprise" deserved applause as the inclusion of the line of march in the Post amounted to "an extraordinary promotion of our culture" in a respected national newspaper.
"However, the letter continued, "involvement of the Irish-American press and the New York Post should not be mutually exclusive."
Dunleavy told the Echo that he had received the letter, that it was under consideration and that it would be discussed at the next meeting of the parade organizing committee.