Taoiseach defends decision to march in New York parade

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny is defending his decision to march in today's parade in New York, despite LGBT groups in Ireland and the US asking him not to do so.

Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio is not marching but the Taoiseach says he will march proudly on behalf of his country.

The Taoiseach’s attendance in New York has been clouded by a row about a ban on lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations marching in the Manhattan parade with equality banners.

The New York City mayor has refused to take part in what is the world’s oldest and biggest St Patrick’s Day event and Guinness withdrew sponsorship of the parade.

The Taoiseach said Ireland was known around the world for its people and their ability to change other people’s circumstances.

Mr Kenny said: “That our small Atlantic island should inspire so much global affection is due in no small part to the nobility, or the uaisleacht, of our people who time and again saw to it not just to make the difference but to be the difference in parts of the world visited by war and famine and destruction.”

“Even now as I speak in remote field-clinics and feeding stations and in border crossings there is an Irishman or Irishwoman bringing not just help but confidence, not just hope but indeed love.”

Mr Kenny, who is in the US for the weekend, also used his address to say thank you for the sacrifices made in Ireland since the economic crisis.

“I know the process of transforming Ireland has been extremely difficult, many aspects galling for you. The shock of the fall was followed by the seemingly endless sacrifice by you and your families,” he said.

“We are at last and thanks to you and to your patience and your resolve putting Ireland first. We are now back on the road to recovery.”

Earlier, they celebrated the presence of seven PSNI officers marching in the New York parade today.

It is the first time the PSNI will march in any St Patrick’s Day parade anywhere in the world and they will march alongside their counterparts in the Garda Siochana.

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