All is not well in St. Patrick's Day Central, the GHQ of Irish America, GOTHAM. There's another brouhaha, or rather, brew-ha-ha, over the Big Parade that always marks the Big Green Day. In previous years, organizers nearly came to blows over the designation of an IRA "volunteer" as grand marshall, and more recently over gay and lesbian Irish who wished to march under an Irish gay pride banner. Now things have gotten REALLY serious--the nearly all-Irish American NY Fire Department has been disrespected all the way back to the middle of the marchers. USA Today reports,
"St. Patrick might have driven the snakes out of Ireland, but he'd find it near impossible to eliminate controversy from the nation's oldest and largest celebration of all things Irish.
John Dunleavy, president of the parade's organizing committee, ignited this year's brouhaha by moving the FDNY from its traditional spot at the front of the parade to the middle of the pack
Dunleavy then created a separate brew-haha by complaining that firefighters show up drunk for the parade — and continue drinking all day while in uniform.
Fire officials, along with city officials, were quick to strike back at Dunleavy on both counts.
"He's made a huge mistake in trying to brand all New York City firefighters on something that he says he saw," said Uniformed Firefighters Association head Steve Cassidy about the drinking charges. "It's nonsense."
Drinking on St. Patrick's Day in New York? Firefighters? I'm shocked, shocked. I wonder which city administrator the FDNY offended...it looks like a strictly Irish-eyes-are-not-smiling power play. But it figures... the Irish are a contentious lot, and a drinking lot, wherever they are.