NIGRA (the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association) has picketed Irish Government, or semi-state bodies (Aer Lingus, for example) in Belfast (and once in Dublin) for over a decade now, in solidarity with the ILGO (Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization) of New York.
ILGO have, since 1991, been barred from the famous New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, by the organisers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, on the spurious grounds that the Parade is a Roman Catholic devotional demonstration.
The argument is absurd, as can be demonstrated by the most cursory view of any Parade of the twentieth, or of this, century. The Ancient Order of Hibernians while a fraternity of Catholic Irish-Americans, has never been a strictly devotional group. It was suspect in the eyes of Church authorities for the first century of its existence.
It was involved in American Labour politics from the mid-19th century. It sponsored a body of armed men, the Hibernian Rifles, which took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. It had connections with the Congress Party of India and with other anti colonialist groups.
Banning the ILGO is homophobic bigotry on the part of a powerful body with a genuinely radical history.
There have been three pickets in London since 2005, on or about St Patrick’s Day. The Irish Embassy’s Passport office in Brompton Road (opposite Harrods famous store) is the best ‘pitch’.
I am asking interested people to contact me about the picket in 2008 – the larger the picket the greater our impact -and the quicker this situation will be resolved in ILGO’s favour.
Pickets could also be mounted at the Irish Consulates in Cardiff (Wales) and Edinburgh (Scotland) – and. possibly other large urban areas. Most cities in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) have some sort of Irish Government or semi state body’s office.
If you are interested contact:
127 Tollington Way
Mob: 07952 223 986