New York and Boston mayors plan to boycott St Patrick’s Day parades over ban on gay marchers

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The mayors of New York and Boston both plan to snub St Patrick’s Day parades in their respective cities because organisers continue to ban gay people from marching.

The Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, said he plans to boycott the parade because of the exclusion of LGBT groups. He is the first New York mayor in about 20 years to do so.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has also vowed to boycott the South Boston St Patrick’s Day Parade if organisers do not reconsider allowing members of the LGBT community to march.

Mr Walsh, who is the son of Irish immigrants, told the Boston Herald: “If the gay community is not allowed to march, I’m not marching in the parade.”

The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1995 that St Patrick’s Day parade organisers had the right to exclude groups with messages that they do not approve.

New York’s parade is also suffering a high-profile snub by a senior minister of the Irish Government.

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection and deputy leader of Ireland’s Labour Party, told a Dublin radio station that she will not be attending the parade when she is in the city for the 17 March festivities.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, however, is expected to march in the New York parade despite mounting pressure on him to follow Mayor De Blasio’s lead.

“It is my intention to be there in New York,” the PM said.

Mr Kenny did not express a view on Mr de Blasio’s reservations about the parade.

“You should ask the Mayor that question. I don’t speak for the Mayor,” he said.