Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Mike Flannery leads the 1983 St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York

The 1983 St Patrick’s Day Parade holds a special place in the hearts of Irish Republicans worldwide because on this day Michael Flannery, icon of Irish Republicanism was the Grand Marshal of The St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City - the most prestigious in the world.

However it was not without controversy as Sen. Ted Kennedy, Former NY Governor Hugh Carey, Sen. Daniel Moynihan and Congressman Tip O Neill, known as the Four Horsemen petulantly refused to attend the parade and railed against Flannery’s role as Grand Marshal.  Cardinal Cooke of the Archdiocese of New York was also opposed to Mike Flannery and pulled the NYC Catholic Schools out of the parade.  The 26 county Dublin government were also most displeased and many felt that they were behind the attempted boycott; that went terribly wrong for them. 

A video tape from the Farley Collection shows Mike Flannery turning the tables during a New Jersey interview about the furor over his pending involvement in the parade, stating that it gave a million dollars worth of free publicity for the Cause of Irish Freedom.  Several of the great heroes and activists of that era can also be seen; including our own Brian Mór among the celebrities at Ó Lunney’s Times Square Pub at the traditional St Patrick’s Day breakfast.  The late Kathy Butler Diaz turned out with a massive contingent of the Mid-Manhattan NORAID including the late Davy Gould.  NORAID contingents from all over the Northeast can be seen along the parade route; as well as the San Francisco NORAID banner.

Sadly too many of our former comrades and activists; who gave so much of their lives for Ireland’s Cause have since passed away.  The footage documents them doing what they did on a regular basis, marching for the restoration of the 32 County Irish Republic. --- click here to view video


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