Category: Archive

Half way flap

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The date of the meeting, the sixth anniversary of 9/11, prompted an immediate outcry from the leader of the Fire Department of New York Emerald Society.
“Choosing this date is a kick in the face,” FDNY Emeralds president, Billy Nolan, told the Echo.
He said he believed the date was chosen so that firefighter representatives would be unlikely to attend the meeting at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.
“Why would you chose Tuesday if you didn’t want to keep us out,” said Nolan.
Tensions between the parade organizers and firefighters have been out in the open since the parade earlier this year.
The firefighters were bumped back down the 5th Avenue line of march on the instructions of parade committee chairman John Dunleavy.
The firefighters turned up and took part in the parade but were anything but happy with the demotion.
“I’m not impressed by the date for this meeting. If next year is going to be like this year, this is not going to end. It’s a shame it has come to this,” Nolan said.
The letter to delegates does not specifically mention the firefighters, or any parade participating group.
It states that the St. Patrick’s Parade and Celebration Committee will hold a meeting on Tuesday evening, September 11th.
The meeting, according to the letter, will begin promptly at 7.30 p.m. with “all Delegates” encouraged to attend.
The purpose of the meeting, according to the letter, will be to review the 2007 parade and make plans for the 2008 parade.
The letter is signed by John Dunleavy, in his capacity as chairman and director of the parade committee, and Catherine Mitchell Miceli, as its recording secretary and director.
“The letter is short and sweet, but the date, come on,” said Nolan.
Nolan said that one thing he was now hoping to confirm by attending the meeting was that the 2008 parade would indeed take place on March 17, this despite the fact that the day, a Monday, is the second day of Holy Week, the first being Palm Sunday.
The fact that St. Patrick’s Day falls in Holy Week has already prompted Catholic archdiocesan authorities in New York and Dublin to move back formal observance of St. Patrick’s Day to the previous Friday and Saturday respectively.
Nolan said that the FDNY and Police Department Emerald pipe bands had committed themselves to marching in the Savannah, Georgia parade on Saturday the 15th of March.
The bands planned to fly back for the New York parade.
Nolan said that after being bumped back last March, firefighters had not stepped out on to the avenue until almost 1 p.m. Nevertheless, the firefighters had completed their progress up the avenue by 2 p.m.
Chairman Dunleavy has been critical of the firefighters for allowing non-FDNY firefighters to march with them and for taking too much time to complete their march along the parade route.
Nolan rejects such criticism.
“All we want to do is go back to our spot,” Nolan said in reference to the FDNY’s traditional place in the line of march.

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