Tuesday 6 December 2016

Parade danger for 'most Irish' US town

Nick Bramhill

Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30

Under threat: St Patrick’s Day Parade in Scituate
Under threat: St Patrick’s Day Parade in Scituate

The most Irish town in the United States is in danger of losing its St Patrick's Day parade this year, due to funding problems.

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Scituate, Massachussetts, a seaside town about 30 miles from Boston, was named the most Irish town in the US several years ago.

Census results revealed that 47.5pc of its population is of Irish descent, while the 20,000-strong community's lively St Patrick's Day carnival has grown five-fold in size over the past 20 years.

But cash-strapped organisers of the annual parade, due to be held on March 20, may be forced to axe this year's event, according to local reports.

The future of the parade has been uncertain since August of last year, when the event's long-time sponsor, the Scituate Chamber of Commerce, pulled out.

Parade chairman, Ed Kelly, said in an interview: "The parade will happen if we raise enough money. I've been running around doing the paperwork to possible corporate sponsors. Other people are out knocking on doors."

Fundraising issues have dealt a blow to a number of well-known St Patrick's Day parades.

Last week, it was confirmed that the Sydney event - the largest in Australia and the world's fourth-largest after New York, Dublin and Boston - has been axed due to financial problems, while major doubt hangs over its future.

Last year, close to 80,000 revellers turned up to the long-running St Patrick's Day and Family Day, after Ireland's Government and the Irish community in Sydney pulled together to help with funding.

But the event has been hampered with funding problems since 2014 when a storm whit the city just as the parade got underway.

The bad weather cost organisers of the usually popular Family Day concert a fortune, and exposed a funding shortfall from which there has been no recovery.

Sunday Independent

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