Guinness to sponsor NY St Patrick’s Day parade despite gay boycott

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Guinness has signed back up to sponsor the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York – after initially dropping out over a ban on gay groups.

The company dropped out as a sponsor last year, after pressure over a ban put in place by organisers that prohibits LGBT groups from marching.

However, Guinness has since announced that it will resume sponsorship of this year’s Parade, which is set to take place on March 17.

Parade organisers confirmed in September that Out@NBC-Universal – the LGBT group of one of the parade’s biggest supporters – would be allowed to march under its own banner.

Despite the gesture, organisers have not moved to alter a ban on Pride flags – and no other gay groups have been confirmed to take part.

Guinness’ parent company Diageo told the Wall Street Journal: “While there is still work to be done, we are pleased that the parade organizers have taken steps to allow the LGBT community to be represented.”

Emmaia Gelman of Irish Queers said of the company’s decision to end the boycott: “It’s disappointing.

“It appears now that Guinness’s withdrawal last year was more of a PR move because the parade was coming under so much censure, and they’re taking the excuse of NBC’s gay employee group joining the parade as a way to put themselves back in.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also boycotted the Parade last year, is yet to confirm his attendance next month.