Saturday 16 December 2017

'It's been my life for the past 48 years' - Pensioner told he can't walk in Dublin Parade due to security reasons

"Paddy Dracula" with Cllr Royston Brady in 2004 Photo: Tom Burke

A pensioner who has dressed up as Dracula for the past 48 years in the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin has spoken of his heartbreak at not being allowed to walk in this year's parade.

Paddy Finlay (72) from Co Dublin received a letter saying he wasn't allowed in this year's parade due to security reasons.

"I've been in the Dublin Parade for 48 years. I've dressed as Dracula and walked in the parade since 1969," Mr Finlay told Joe Duffy on RTÉ's Liveline.

"I don't interfere with the floats. I've never had any trouble. I've taken photos with gardai and Mary McAlese brought me up onto the stand.

Garda Linda Williams,Kilmainham and 'Paddy Dracula' at the St.Patrick's Day parade in Dublin in 2004 Photo:Tom Burke
Garda Linda Williams,Kilmainham and 'Paddy Dracula' at the St.Patrick's Day parade in Dublin in 2004 Photo:Tom Burke

"I love it. It's been part of my life for the past 48 years. Last year when I was doing it I wasn't well and my son rang me and said 'Paddy don't do it this year' and I said 'Graham, if I die at the parade I'll be happy'."

Mr Finlay said he received a letter this morning saying: "Unfortunately due to security measures for this year's parade we are unable to provide you with a wristband to access the parade route".

"It was like a stake in the heart this morning when I got this. I was always in the parade when I was a child," Mr Finlay told Joe Duffy.

"What threat would I be to anybody? I'm afraid of my own shadow.

"It's part of my life, I don't ask for any fees."

Mr Finlay said that Dracula fits in with all parade themes as he brings entertainment.

"I still can't figure out what threat I'd be. I sent them a photo of me with my Lifetime Achievement award for my charity work in November. This year in September I'll be 49 years working with children with special needs. I'm harmless."

Labour Cllr Dermot Lacey told Liveline that Mr Finlay "only adds to the parade".

"I can't believe it. It's one of those stupid bureaucratic decisions. I think Paddy should just turn up. This decision wasn't made by any democratic body, it was made by a body appointed by the Government, not the city council. Paddy will add to the parade, it's enjoyable.

"I think the people who run the parade should be told to allow Paddy to take part.

"I wasn't aware security was being increased this year." contacted the Dublin St Patrick's Day parade organisers for a comment, who said the issue has since been resolved.

"The issues has been resolved and both parties are now happy," said a spokesperson.

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