Irish Foreign Minister criticizes ban on gays in NY's St. Patrick's parade

Thu. March 17, 2011 7:00 PM by News Staff

irish foreign minister eamon gilmore

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New York City - Ireland's foreign minister said on Wednesday that the ban on gay and lesbian groups in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade just isn't Irish.

"What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness," Eamon Gilmore told Irish Central. "I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland."

Gilmore met with gays and lesbians at the Irish Consulate on Wednesday.

"This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let's be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing," Gilmore said.

Gilmore also said that the Irish government intended to hold a constitutional convention and consider allowing same-sex marriage. Ireland's constitution was written about 80 years ago.

"Ireland has changed. It was not that long ago that homosexuality was decriminalized in Ireland," he said. "For the majority of Irish people being gay is no longer an issue. That's not to say that there isn't resistance - I expect that if we come to the point of same sex marriage at the convention of course the extreme right will push back against it."