Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar tak es part in the 2018 Saint Patricks Day Parade today in New York City. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
by Kurt Wheelock
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo marched separately in the 257th annual St. Patrick Day’s parade on Saturday, along with over 100,000 other marchers.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, flanked by Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King, announced his government’s multi-million dollar grant for an Irish cultural center in Hell’s Kitchen. He also recounted traveling to Oklahoma to visit to Native American tribe which after suffering its own loses in the Trail of Tears raised money for the Irish during the potato famine.
Cuomo, noting that Varadkar is openly gay, contrasted it with the controversies in the 1990s about LGTB groups being excluded from the parade. This year, at least two such groups marched.
Cuomo paid tribute to two FDNY firefighters who died last week in Iraq, serving in the Air National Guard, Lt. Christopher Raguso and Fire Marshall Christopher Zanetis. Cuomo said, “I’m going to say a prayer for them and their families as we go past St. Pat’s for them and their families.”
Mayor de Blasio began the day hosting a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast reception at Gracie Mansion and then attended St. Patrick’s Day mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Fifth Avenue, New York, USA, March 17 2018 – New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio along with Hundreds of Thousands of People Watched and Participated on the 2018 Saint Patricks Day Parade today in New York City.
Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
Varadkar also attended the mass, and in a session with the media said, “I had a chance to meet the Mayor earlier and attend Mass, and I’m going to be able to march in the parade now with my partner which is something that is a sign, I think, of change, a sign of great diversity, not just in Ireland, but in the community here as well,” Mr Varadkar said. Speaking of his Thursday meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, Varadkar said, “I think he was definitely aware of Irish issues. I think he was certainly aware of issues around the Irish border and the need to avoid a hard border. “I wouldn’t say he was an expert on Ireland but he certainly had an awareness of issues relating to Ireland and gave us a lot of time during the day which I think was very welcome.”
Between 1850 and 1929, an estimated 4 million Irish immigrants. came to the United States.