Rules surrounding New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade should change, says Gilmore

New Global Greening promotion includes Jordan Unesco hertiage site and ski resorts

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar at the launch of Tourism Ireland Global Greening 2014 in Dublin.  The initiative sees global  landmarks turn green for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Eric Luke

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar at the launch of Tourism Ireland Global Greening 2014 in Dublin. The initiative sees global landmarks turn green for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Eric Luke

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 01:01

The Government should be represented at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in New York, although the rules surrounding the event should be changed, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday.

Labour Party deputy leader Joan Burton had said she would not attend the parade, which excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups, until it is “more fully inclusive”.

The parade is organised by Catholic organisation the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Speaking in Dublin at the announcement of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening promotion for St Patrick’s Day yesterday, Mr Gilmore said parades should be “inclusive”. The New York parade was “a very important parade”, he noted.

He believed the Government should be represented at the parade in order to support Irish- American organisations who have helped on issues such as emigration and trade and to support workers in the fire service and police service who worked in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001, attacks.

“I think it’s important that we are part of that parade. But I believe that the rules should be changed and my views on that have been well-known for some time,” he said.

This year’s St Patrick’s Day Global Greening will see major landmarks and tourist sites around the world – including old favourites such as New York’s Empire State Building – lit in green.

Sites joining the list include the Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo; the Unesco world heritage site of Petra in Jordan; Canada’s ski resort of Whistler; and one of the highest waterfalls in Europe, the Rhine Falls near Zurich.Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said it was a great way to get the world talking about Ireland on St Patrick’s Day.

“It’s a simple idea with minimal costs, but it’s also an incredibly effective marketing strategy. It gets Ireland on to front pages around the world, at a time of year when people are planning their summer breaks,” he said.

Mr Gilmore will be in Paris for St Patrick’s Day, while Mr Varadkar will travel to Atlanta, Georgia in the US.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons said the promotion offered publicity that the organisation simply could not afford to pay for.