Monday 26 September 2016

Panti Bliss is set to fly the flag for Ireland at Sydney's Mardi Gras

Published 03/03/2016 | 15:01

Speaking in Dublin this week, Uphold chief executive Anthony Watson, who is gay, said Ireland’s May 2015 vote in favour of marriage equality made the country more attractive for his company. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Speaking in Dublin this week, Uphold chief executive Anthony Watson, who is gay, said Ireland’s May 2015 vote in favour of marriage equality made the country more attractive for his company. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Drag queen Panti Bliss is set to fly the flag for Ireland at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday.

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The gay rights activist jetted to Australia to lead the green float celebrating Ireland at the 38 annual parade.

Around 200,000 revellers are expected to line the streets of the city for the spectacular , which will also be broadcast on Australian television and online.

‘Queen of Ireland’ Panti – whose real name is Rory O’Neill – said:  “I'm thrilled to return to Sydney, a city that has been very welcoming of me and my cartoon glamour over the past few years.

Queen of Ireland Panti
Queen of Ireland Panti

“Working with the team behind the Irish float, it is amazing to experience the passion and commitment that goes in to representing Ireland here in Australia and I'm honoured to be a part of it.”

More than 200,000 Antipodeans visited Ireland last year, smashing tourism records.

And bosses are hoping the colourful float will help entice even more holidaymakers from both Australian and New Zealand.

Tourism Ireland’s Manager for Australia and New Zealand Sofia Hansson added: “It’s a fun way to get people in Sydney talking about the island of Ireland – and to encourage them to ‘follow the rainbow’ to Ireland this year.”

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