The process to ban gay and lesbian people from marching under their own banners at St. Patrick's Day parades back in the mid-90's is my first memory of gay news ever being discussed on TV in my house growing up. But it's good that someone in a position of influence is trying to change the parade's policy:
New Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore has criticized New York St.Patrick's parade organizers for excluding Gays
"What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness. I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland."
"This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let's be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing..... I think that's the message that needs to be driven home."
I've been to Ireland a few times and it was plenty gay friendly; one of the best gay bars I ever went to was in The George in Dublin. Gays and lesbians have floats in St. Patrick's Day events in Ireland, and in 2009 the gay float won "Best in Show" in Dublin's parade.