John Dunleavy with Brian Cowen

New york ousts coole man from st patricks day parade chairmanship

The Westmeath man who has for years been at the helm of the New York St Patrick’s Day parade, has been controversially ousted from the position.

John Dunleavy, who is originally from Coole, has for the past 22 years been chairman of the parade.

His tenureship attracted controversy over his resistance to allowing gay groups participate into the parade.

This year, the parade’s 254 tradition ended, when the first ever gay group participated, representing gay employees at NBC Universal, but, according to Irish Central Mr Dunleavy, 78, said in April that for 2016 gay groups intending to take part “would have a problem”.

They quoted him as saying: “The parade itself is not there to promote anybody’s particular agenda in any way, shape or form. The parade represents our faith, our heritage and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we’re going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year.”

According to Irish Central, there was opposition to Mr Dunleavy’s stance from Dr John Lahey, the parade’s vice-chairman.

Mr Dunleavy emigrated to the United States in the 1960s, and had been involved with the parade for almost 50 years, and chairman for almost half that time.

He served with the US Army, and also worked as a bus driver for the New York Citiy Transit Authority, attaining, in 1990, the position of General Superintendent of the New York City Transit Authoirty.

He retired from this post to start a gardening business.

He is married and a father of two daughters.