By Ray O’Hanlon
The New York St. Patrick’s Day Board of Directors and the parade’s recently elected Parade and Celebration Committee have agreed to work together to see that the 2016 parade takes place.
Fears were mounting that the parade, set for the eve of commemorations for the 1916 Rising, would be adversely affected by the court battle between former parade and celebration committee chairman, John Dunleavy, and the parade board of director’s chairman, Dr. John Lahey.
Dunleavy has taken a case in a Bronx court against Dr. Lahey, but the next hearing in that action will not no take place until January 28 of next year.
Meantime, the new chairman, John Tully, his signaled his intention to work with Dr. Lahey to ensure that the March 17 parade steps off as planned.
Attorneys for both parties secured an agreement to cooperate as indicated in as brief joint statement which reads: “Counsel for the parties appeared in Court and agreed that The Parade Committee and the Board of Directors will work together to see that the 2016 N.Y.C. St. Patrick’s Parade is held.”
The court meeting was last week and involved Frank Young, attorney for John Dunleavy, and Mitch Mandell, counsel for Dr. Lahey.
It is understood that John Tully, who is himself a lawyer, was also in attendance.
The agreement to cooperate is significant in one critical sense: it has emerged even though the board of directors does not recognize the recent election of Mr. Tully and others to the parade and celebrate committee, which took place at a recent gathering of parade affiliated organizations in Antun’s of Queens.
At that meeting, John Dunleavy was actually proposed for a new term but he declined, thus leaving the way open for Mr. Tully’s election.
Ordinarily, members of the parade and celebration committee would be made up of individuals already sitting on the board of directors.
This was not the case with the Antun’s vote.
However, the agreement to work together in organizing the 2016 parade would seem to suggest that there will be a basis for cooperation between the board and the committee down the line.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the board of directors which had been called by Dr. Lahey for Wednesday of last week did not take place.
The board has been moving ahead with organization of the parade on its own, this in terms of sending out invitations to groups and organizations that would be ordinarily in the parade’s line of march.
The deadline for responses is tomorrow, Dec. 15, but given the circumstances of recent months this will not be a hard deadline, a board spokesman indicated.
With the board and committee now working together, the next significant order of business for both will be the naming of a grand marshal for the 2016 parade.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan was grand marshal for the 2015 parade and this was announced in the middle of September, 2014.
So in this critical parade matter in particular, ground has now to be made up.