It's funny to hear O'Dowd compare Rev. Wright to David Duke when he went on WNYC earlier this year to talk about "abolishing St. Patrick's Day as we know it" and wanting to invite renowned racist and homphobe Ian Paisley to march in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.

It appears that O'Dowd is the one that uses race issues when it suits him, whether it's to forgive Paisley, appease big business to "invest" in Northern Ireland, make sacrifices upon the altar of the Clinton dynasty, or use white privilege and entitlement as the cornerstone for the framing of ILIR's "Legalize the Irish" campaign.

As Irish Americans doing anti-racist work, IQ is interested in debate around these issues. What do you think of O'Dowd's comments? Leave a comment, start a debate.


Council of Europe calls on Ireland to legalize abortion

The report recommends that all 47 countries, which make up the Council of Europe, should guarantee women the right to have an abortion and promote cheaper contraception, along with improved sex education, to try to reduce the number of women who seek abortions.

To read full article from RTÉ, click here.


One-Third Of Irish Gay Couples Are Living in the US

AN estimated 1,200 Irish-born men and women – roughly one-third of Ireland’s gay couples — are living with a same-sex partner in the U.S., according to a new research paper from the Williams Institute, a public policy think tank at the University of California Los Angeles Law School.

To read more, click here for Cahir O’Doherty's article in the Irish Voice.

AOH to Irish Queers: "You can march in body bags."

(photo by Maggie M. Koopmans)

The protest site was marked by tension between demonstrators, who at times chanted, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, NYPD go away," and uniformed police and firemen marching, who by and large conveyed either condescension or outright hostility.

One fireman from New Jersey shouted "fag" at the protesters, then scurried into the middle of his contingent when pursued by this reporter for his name.

A member of the AOH contingent in the parade was more frank in his hostility."You can march," he said, "in body bags."


More pics from St. Patrick's Day Protest

Article on Immigration & St. Patrick's Day

Check out this article by Shaun Harkin on Counterpunch.


Video: Protesting NYPD/FDNY on anti-gay march


St. Patrick's Day

More commentary and pictures to follow...


Protesters call for ouster of thousands of uniformed public servants from anti-gay parade.

NYC – Irish Queers have assembled a picket line this morning at the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, protesting the homophobia of the parade – and the uniformed public servants who march in it. Chanting “Irish queers into the Irish parade!” and “If gays can’t march, cops can’t either!” the protesters continue a 17-year challenge to the parade’s discrimination.

Since 1991, the parade has been imbued with an explicitly anti-gay message by organizers – which makes the City-sponsored participation of thousands of uniformed New York City police, firefighters and EMTs discriminatory and improper. Irish Queers has called on the Police and Fire Commissioners to prevent contingents of uniformed officers from marching in the parade.

“We’re sick of hearing city officials say they can’t intercede in the homophobia because it’s a religious march. If it’s a religious anti-gay parade, and uniformed cops and firefighters have to be pulled out,” said Tierney Gleason of Irish Queers. “It can’t be both privately religious and publicly Irish. It’s time for the city to pull the plug on this bait-and-switch game.”

“New Yorkers are reminded daily that police officers carry deep biases against the people they’re bound to serve – against people of color, against immigrants, people with AIDS, LGBT people. But public servants do not have the right to express those biases in their official capacity; to create an environment of fear and bias that denies us access to municipal services, especially emergency services,” said J.F. Mulligan, who organizes with Irish Queers. “Police participation totally violates the separation of church and state. Uniformed police have no right to march in this parade.”

The St. Patrick’s Day parade was legally redefined by the NYC Parade Committee as a private, religious procession in order to to justify keeping LGBT groups out. In the early 1990s, the Parade Committee used this defense to defeat a discrimination claim brought by the NYC Human Rights Commission. But the Archdiocese of New York, in an unrelated statement pertaining to Holy Week, recently issued a statement that it views the NYC St. Patrick’s parade as a purely civic event.

“The homophobia and vitriol of this parade – which we see every year as we picket – can no longer be hidden behind religion. The parade organizers are plain old bigots, abusing the platform of this important Irish American cultural event to express their hatred of LGBT people,” said Gleason. “The city must stop allowing the parade organizers this loophole to legalize discrimination.”

Irish Queers, which evolved out of the Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization in New York City, is active on immigrant justice, Northern Ireland self-determination, anti-racism, reproductive justice and other social justice issues.


Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day....

....and we hope to see you on Fifth Ave @ 57th on the west side of the avenue. We'll assemble at 11am. We have plenty of signs.....just bring your fierce queer style & righteous rage!



Marching in uniform violates City's anti-discrimination rules, say
Irish LGBT organizers.


Protest against the anti-gay NYC St. Patrick's Day parade and the illegal participation of uniformed NYPD & FDNY contingents


Irish Queers, Irish & LGBT civil rights groups


Monday, March 17 at 11am


Fifth Ave. at 57th St. (West side of the avenue)

More info:

The organizers of the NYC St. Patrick's Day parade, seeking to
legalize their discrimination against Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual &
transgender marchers, have redefined the parade as a private,
religious procession. No longer an Irish celebration or even a public
event, the Fifth Avenue parade is now legally categorized as a
religious march bearing an explicitly anti-gay message. Organizers
have proudly called the march "a triumph of Catholic values over

In spite of this clearly discriminatory message, New York City public
servants – including police, firefighters and emergency service
workers – regularly join in the anti-gay spectacle by the thousands.
Their ongoing participation in the anti-gay parade confirms the fears
of many within the LGBT community that we cannot rely on the city's
emergency service workers to respect our rights as New Yorkers, nor
can we call on them for our safety.

Irish Queers – along with other New York LGBT groups, and Irish
community members who oppose discrimination – will protest this
violation of the human and civil rights of LGBT people.

Irish Queers calls on Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and
Fire Commissioner Scoppetta to disallow uniformed officers from
marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

This is what Irish American bigotry looks like

This is what Irish American anti-gay bigotry looks like. This is the warm welcome GLIB received in Boston in 1992 when they marched in the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade. This photo taken by Marilyn Humphries comes from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders website where they are profiling memorable cases from their 30 year history. For further information, check out the resources listed.


From the Archives: Bronx Irish reject crusty old homophobia

New York Times, January 17, 1993

The Talk of the North Bronx; Irish Voice Wide Passions Over the St. Patrick's Day Parade

As a soft snow fell over the North Bronx, Patrick McKnight lamented the Irish community's preoccupation with a celebration turning sour with controversy.

"Shouldn't we be more concerned about getting the English out of Ireland than getting the homosexuals out of the St. Patrick's Day parade?" Mr. McKnight asked as he sipped coffee at the Cafe An Beal Bocht in Riverdale.

Nonetheless, Mr. McKnight, a 26-year-old emigrant from Dublin, did not hesitate to hurl himself into the parade debate. And neither did anyone else approached on Thursday on the wintry streets and in the overheated churches and cafes of Norwood and Riverdale.

For however piddling the controversy seemed to some, it touched on larger issues for many -- in particular, the fading authority of the Catholic Church over young people and the waning power of the Irish in New York City politics.

"People say it's not our town anymore, and believe me, this is another nail in the coffin," said William O'Meara, 50, owner of the Greentree Restaurant on Bainbridge Avenue in Norwood.

Mr. O'Meara belongs to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which has run the parade for 151 years and steadfastly refuses to allow the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization to march.

Earlier this month, the city intervened, granting a parade permit to a new, conciliatory committee that aims to include both the gay group and the Hibernians.

But while some Irish-Americans were thrilled to see power wrested from the Hibernians, many others plan to boycott the March 17 parade if the Hibernians do not win a court battle to regain control.

For now, many in the city's Irish community are not pleased; not with the fighting among themselves, and not with what some see as the city's intrusiveness. In interviews, many talked as if the parade were a referendum on changing times, as if its fate were somehow linked to their future as a community. Shaking Up the Status Quo

Rushing in from the morning chill, Marie Noonan warmed herself over tea and a raisin scone at the Traditional Irish Bakery in Norwood.

"I would be in favor of the gay people," said Ms. Noonan, a 26-year-old who immigrated four years ago. She noted that a gay group marched without incident in last year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in County Cork.

"It's about time the Ancient Order was shook up," she said, smiling. "They've had too much of a stranglehold on everything in the Irish community."

The parade debate reveals a fissure between generations, Ms. Noonan said. And at another table, Eileen Siegelman, a vivacious 74-year-old native of Galway, seemed to prove her point.

"If the homosexuals want to have their private affairs, go ahead," she said. "Don't make a splash of it. They're spoiling a whole parade, and a whole day."

Tucking a tuft of white hair into her beret, Ms. Siegelman continued. "Why do people want to come in and mess up an institution?" she asked. Her voice trailed off. "Everything in life has been messed up. Sad, isn't it?" 'Down the Tubes'

Several blocks away, in front of the Copley Apartments, Donald E. Powell and his neighbor, Thomas McInerney, were enjoying the blustery weather and bemoaning the disintegration of society. "I think the parade is going the same way New York City is going," said Mr. Powell, a retired mail carrier. "Straight down the tubes. Don't you think, Tom?"

Mr. McInerney said: "I shouldn't comment. My wife says I talk too much." Mr. Powell elaborated on his thesis. "The parade is just like society," he said. "They're giving too many rights to too many people. What's all this jumping out of the closet and making demands? It weakens the structures.

"Since World War II, down, down, down. Everything is going down." A Quick Prayer

John Hourican, a 23-year-old security guard and nutrition student, dashed into St. Brendan's Catholic Church for a quick prayer.

He paused in the vestibule as the pews were filling up with retirees for the noon Mass.

"A lot of older people want to stick with tradition, which kind of means hiding from the things that are really going on these days," Mr. Hourican said. "But discrimination isn't very Christian. What's the big deal if gay people march in a parade?"

Marie McGreevy, a retiree, thinks it is a very big deal, indeed. Everyone should march behind the banner of their Irish county, and not the banner of their sexuality, she said.

"My father, who came from the other side, must be turning over in his grave," Mrs. McGreevy said. "Tell you the truth, the Irish never thought they had, you know, any gay."

Mrs. McGreevy was joined by Elizabeth Pryor and Frances Miller.

"God help them," Mrs. Pryor said, referring to gay people in general.

"The Church condemns their life style, so they can't march in a Catholic celebration," Mrs. Miller said. "It's that simple." 'Honor St. Patrick'

At the Village Pub on Bainbridge Avenue, the owner, John Flynn, said that his customers, "a regular bunch of guys and girls," were planning to boycott the parade.

"We just think homosexuals don't have any place," he said. "The whole point is to honor St. Patrick."

Down the street, as lunchtime was ending at the Greentree Restaurant, Mr. O'Meara, the owner, took a seat and apologized for his demeanor.

"Usually I'm very vocal, but I'm so down about this whole thing," said Mr. O'Meara, a member of Hibernian Division Nine. "It just seems like the beginning of the end for the Irish in this city. I feel bad."

Mr. O'Meara blamed Mayor David N. Dinkins for "stepping on our parade."

"He's made a political decision in favor of his gay constituency, and it's nothing short of Catholic bashing," Mr. O'Meara said. "First the Rainbow curriculum, now this."

Mr. O'Meara pointed out that he did not consider himself a gay basher, and that he has even had gay employees at the restaurant -- "although maybe you shouldn't mention that."

He said he had suggested that the members of the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization march with lavender armbands or sashes. But that idea was rejected, because "this is war," he said.

Everyone he knows will boycott "Mr. Dinkins's parade," Mr. O'Meara said. "So what he's going to have is a parade of misfits." Where to Draw the Line?

In the late afternoon at the Cafe An Beal Bocht in Riverdale, Rosann MacDonnell, a 29-year-old immigrant, prepared a cappuccino and discussed her disdain for the whole controversy.

"They're making more a mountain out of a molehill," she said. "What the Ancient Order needs is a couple of members under the age of 65."

In the back of the cafe, Mary Brosnan, who works as a home help aide, was far less jocular. "I feel like crying now myself," she said. "It was always such a beautiful tradition and this is kind of spoiling it."

But back up front, Ms. MacDonnell continued. "If they want to march, let 'em march," she said.

Her fellow employee, Siobhan McCormack, 22, was stunned. "You think anybody should have the right?" she said. "What if people wanted to walk naked?"

"Let them, let them," Ms. MacDonnell said.

"I don't know," Ms. McCormack said. "Where do you draw the line?"

Ms. MacDonnell answered: "At the end of Fifth Avenue."


An inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade looks like this...

Just a few pictures from yesterday...

Pete Hamill and Malachy McCourt having a chat & watching the Keltic Dreamers dance troupe...

The Keltic Dreamers dance troupe...

Parading along Skillman Ave...this is so much more festive than Manhattan, isn't it?

Wow, a banner about immigrant & workers rights...you won't see that in Manhattan.

Banners with Mother Jones and the Berrigan brothers...

Hombres Latinos de Ambiente from the Bronx...

Veterans for Peace


And of course, a *tiny* number of misguided nutcases with bad grammar that don't understand that lesbians and homosexuals are the same f&%king thing. Whatever.

Speaking of homophobes, two of us Irish Queers had a funny experience while flyering folks along the parade route to come to our protest. Two women (which we assumed were sisters since the looked a lot alike) thought we were handing out anti-gay literature so they yelled "HATERS!" at us. I then explained that we were queer and they apologized. As strange as the situation was, I have to admit that I love the idea of parade-watching Irish Americans yelling at homophobes. If there are any other Irish Americans out there that have the guts to brazenly challenge bigots, you should come to our protest on March 17th. We'd love to have you join us!

More queer commentary on the parade can be found on Blabbeando.


A lovely night at the Irish Arts Center

Irish Queers were in attendance at the St. Pat's for All fundraiser at the Irish Arts Center last night.