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March 17, 2007

Firemen join gays on banned list from New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade

The same people who have banned gays from marching in the New York City St. Patrick's day parade have just banned New York's bravest too!  The fire fighters will still get to march, but they won't lead the parade as they usually do.

The chief organiser of the annual St Patrick's Day parade in New York, which takes place today, has incensed the city's firemen by accusing them of turning up drunk and making the Irish look bad.

Members of New York's fire department - many of whom are Irish-Americans - will no longer be marching at the head of the 246-year-old parade after they were accused of skipping planning meetings, ignoring direction and spending the day getting drunk.

Many New Yorkers revere their firemen - popularly dubbed "The Bravest" - as the heroes of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the city. The slur on their good name has caused widespread anger and prompted interventions all the way up to Michael Bloomberg, the mayor.

Isn't this holiday all about getting drunk?  I thought that was the purpose of this parade.

During his radio address the Mayor said,

"Usually, I march with the Police Department the whole way. This time, I'll try to march with the Fire Department as much of the whole way as I can. My advice to the guy running the parade is: Look, nothing's perfect. Lighten up! You have rules. Rules are there to be guidelines. Don't enforce 'em at this level."

Many members of the New York City council are marching in Dublin to support openly gay city council speaker Christine Quinn who is not welcomed to march in NYC due to her sexual orientation.

Can we ban the whole parade and start over??

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