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Burton vows not to attend NY parade support: Joan Burton

Tensions have arisen in the Coalition after Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said she will not attend the New York St Patrick's Day parade, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to bow to pressure about marching over the gay rights debate.

The issue arose after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will not be taking part due to the event's long-standing exclusion of gay and lesbian groups displaying banners.

Meanwhile, gay Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said that "in an ideal world, no Taoiseach or no minister should march in the parade".

Organisers of the St Patrick's Day parade say anyone can march, but they are not allowed to carry individual banners.

The political tension comes as Rory O'Neill, aka Panti Bliss, called on the Government to bring in same-sex marriage.


"I would say to the Government, bring in gay marriage tomorrow, legislate for it tomorrow, you have all the votes you need," said Mr O'Neill.

Ms Burton met parade organisers two years ago while she was on St Patrick's Day duties in New York.

She said: "Like other ministers who have been in New York, I met the Irish gay and lesbian community there.

"My understanding two years ago was that there were very positive moves to make the parade much more inclusive, which is what I'd like to see, because it's a fun day for people in New York, and the Irish gay and lesbian community there want to be represented as a significant Irish group, and I support that."

Mr Kenny said he understood that "they allow anyone to walk in the parade" but the issue was that individual banners were not allowed. "It is my intention to be in New York," he said.