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Minister Charlie Flanagan to march in New York parade

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Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan

Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan

Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will march in the New York St Patrick's Day parade - despite being unhappy that gay groups cannot participate in it.

Mr Flanagan said the Government would take part in the world's oldest St Patrick's Day parade - and one of the biggest parades honouring Ireland's national patron - on Fifth Avenue next Tuesday. He said good progress had been made in talks between the organisers and gay representatives and he believed full participation for LGBT groups was likely in the near future.

"I am committed to full equality for all groups in society and will be campaigning strongly for a 'Yes' to the referendum on same-sex marriage on May 22 next. But I will be participating in the New York parade, despite some misgivings and especially acknowledging that progress is being made on resolving this impasse," the minister told the Irish Independent.

The minister will be in Canada later today to attend St Patrick's Day festivities, including the main parade in Toronto on Sunday. He then travels to New York for Tuesday's parade, which brings one of the city's main thoroughfares to a standstill.

One gay group, Out@NBC, representing employees of the radio and TV network NBC, are due to take part in the parade and some Irish gay groups may join forces. They will march behind the County Kildare Association.

Irish Independent