Category: Archive

Queens St. Pat’s parade to roll despite rumblings

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

The Sunnyside-Woodside St. Patrick’s Parade is ready to roll on Sunday, March 4, according to organizers.

And it will do so with Irish government backing and despite objections from the local Republican Party organization.

In addition, parade organizers are hopeful that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will put in an appearance, as she did last year in the inaugural staging of a parade that promotes itself as an event open to all, including Irish gay groups such as ILGO.

This year’s parade, which will step off at 1 p.m., will be lead by De Jimbe, an Irish-based ensemble that combines traditional Irish music with African drumming.

The group is being aided in its transAtlantic trip by the Irish government, specifically the Department of Foreign Affairs Cultural Relations Committee.

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"We are thrilled that with the support of the Irish government De Jimbe will bring their energy and dynamism to the streets of New York. Their support reflects contemporary Ireland, where inclusive St. Patrick’s parades are the norm," parade chairman Brendan Fay said in a statement.

However, not everyone in the heavily Irish neighborhood that the parade calls its home base is feeling thrilled as the days roll by to March 4.

In a strongly worded statement, the Woodside branch of the Republican Party has expressed its "strong disapproval" over what it sees as "another extreme left-wing demonstration."

The parade, according to the statement, will be "a politically partisan, anti-Republican, anti-NYPD, anti-law and order, anti-family values, counterculture, extremist gay and lesbian exhibition, hopelessly and ignobly disguised as a celebration of Irish culture, and irreverently masking itself behind the tenets of Irish independence."

The statement was signed by Ed Coyne, the GOP district leader, and Patrick Hurley, president of Woodside’s Regular Republican Club.

The statement accused the parade organizers of attempting to hijack the name of the local Irish community.

Fay, in response, said that the Republicans were welcome to march in the parade as long as they respected all the other groups.

"They are welcome to serve hot chocolate or push wheelchairs, walk with the U.S. Navy or New York Fire Department or a Catholic parish," Fay said.

The expected navy group, Fay explained, was the U.S. Navy’s Submarine School Silver Dolphin Drill Team.

Fay said that this year’s parade was shaping up to be bigger than last year’s and that many politicians, business, labor and local volunteer groups had indicated their intention to march.

He was not sure at presstime as to whether Sen. Clinton would be among the marchers.

"Her office can’t as yet confirm her attendance," he said.

The parade will start at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. Registration or other details are available at (718)670-7039 or on the parade’s website: www.stpatsforall.com.

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