Miriam Lord’s Week

Zappone leads Seattle parade, Enda does his best Blondie, Fine Gael's general secretary has a week to forget and the Oireachtas golf election goes with a swing

Senator Katherine Zappone speaks on International Women’s Day

Senator Katherine Zappone speaks on International Women’s Day

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 08:29

Zappone to lead parade in Seattle

Senator Katherine Zappone will be wearing the green with pride in her native Seattle this afternoon when she leads the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade as official grand marshal.

”It’s such a huge honour and a most amazing homecoming for me,” says the fourth- generation Irishwoman, whose great grandmother, Catherine Brady, left Virginia in Cavan in 1858.

“I’m absolutely thrilled, but it’s a pity Enda Kenny can’t come out here to Washington state and join me instead of supporting the New York parade.”

Zappone is disappointed by the Taoiseach’s decision to march in the Big Apple’s parade, which prohibits gay groups from taking part. The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, along with Labour Minister Joan Burton, have refused to participate because of the non-inclusive nature of the event.

“The Taoiseach says it is all about being Irish, but my sex- uality is integral to my being Irish,” Zappone says. “He appointed me to the Seanad as a lesbian married woman, so it is very disappointing that he should adopt this attitude.”

The independent senator has a busy schedule of events over the next few days when the St Patrick’s week festival is in full swing. She was presented with her grand marshal’s sash yesterday at Mayor Ed Murray’s proclamation lunch.

The recently married Murray, who is Seattle’s first gay mayor, has family in Tip- perary, Limerick and Down.

Katherine was invited to head the parade by none other than JFK himself – John F Keane, Ireland’s honorary consul in Seattle – on behalf of “the Irish community at large” and the Irish Heritage Club.

One of her first duties will involve the ceremonial “laying o’ the green line” down the middle of Fourth Street to mark the route. This tradition was started by John Doyle Bishop, who was the first grand marshal in 1972.

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, the flamboyant Bishop, a successful couturier, used to paint an emerald green stripe down the main street to his shop door, regularly getting arrested for his trouble.

The painting is now a community effort.

Senator Zappone and her wife Dr Ann Louise Gilligan met at Boston college and celebrated a life-partnership ceremony in 1982 before they moved to Dublin.

“She was the first Irishwoman I ever met,” says Zappone.

Gilligan won’t be in Seattle this year, but Zappone’s brothers and sisters will be marching with her today, along with all her old classmates from Holy Names Academy.

Best Blond Taoiseach in the World rocks America

Blondie was on top form at a private gig in Washington on Thursday.

The Best Blond Taoiseach in the World with Whom to Do Business wowed his audience during a special performance for the US Chamber of Commerce. There was just the one song, but it was a biggie.

“Call me! On the line/Call me Call me any, anytime

Call me, there’s no prob /You can call me any day or night/

Call me!”

Mad stuff.

Blondie really rocked the hall.

This was especially for the transatlantic fans. The folks back home aren’t familiar with either the tune or the lyrics of Call Me.

The Yanks raved over it though, which was the whole point of the performance.

“Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any way

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any day-aaay.”

Granted, the verse is not as catchy as the chorus.

“If you got a problem, you have an issue or anxiety or concern or a proposition or a proposal, I want to hear it. My number is a public number you can call me anytime.”

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