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They’re back!

By Ray O'Hanlon

Just when you thought it was safe to don your Aran knits. T-shirts and other clothing items depicting St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to get drunk are cropping up again in stores and website.

And one of the biggest repeat offenders appears to be Urban Outfitters which caused a storm last year with t-shirts that state the likes of "Kiss Me I'm Irish Or Drunk Or Whatever and "Irish I Were Drunk."

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The shirts are essentially the same ones that were being sold a year ago. This year they can be found on the Urban Outfitters website under "The St. Patty's Day Shop."

A year ago, the Ancient Order of Hibernians led a campaign to get rid of the offending items but that did not apparently have a lasting effect.

And Urban Outfitters is not the only offender.

The Journal News, which circulates north of New York City, reported that members of Rockland County's Irish-American community "are once again protesting a series of crude St. Patrick's Day-themed merchandise being sold at the Palisades Center mall."

The group, according to the report, is calling on the mall and retailers to stop selling T-shirts, hats and other items displaying a range of raunchy humor, sexual slogans and references to excessive inebriation.

"In particular, the group is targeting Spencer's, a lifestyle and gag gifts retailer with more than 600 stores in the U.S. including White Plains and Yonkers, for profiting off items they believe mock Irish culture and feed into stereotypes.

"This has gone way beyond a St. Patrick's Day T-shirt with beer mugs," said Neil Cosgrove, 54, a New City resident and Anti-Defamation chairperson of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. "They are just pushing the bounds more and more. You don't see other ethnic groups targeted like this," he told the paper.