By Irish Echo Staff
The recent Long Island gathering of New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade interested parties seems to have raised more questions than it answered.
This would appear to be the case based on the emergence this week of a document issued on behalf of the group Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations which poses a list of questions to parade board chairman Dr. John Lahey who attended the East Islip gathering of members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians specifically to address concerns and answer questions.
The CMAO release opened with a thank you to Dr. Lahey but that’s as far as the appreciation extended.
It stated in part: “In the spirit of St. Patrick, the Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations thanks Dr. Lahey for visiting with the various Affiliated Organizations regarding the current controversies surrounding the Parade.
“We had hoped that Dr. Lahey would use these visits to listen and reflect on the questions and concerns about the Parade from the people whom he himself described as ‘the heart and soul of the parade.’
“It is with great sadness and regret that we must report that rather than embracing this opportunity he has chosen to engage in self-justification and not dialogue.”
The release went on to state: “We reluctantly feel obliged to inform the Affiliated Organizations of what has been seen and experienced by the members of the various organizations over the past several weeks as we have attended a number of meetings at which Dr. Lahey has made numerous contradictory statements which have unfortunately raised more questions than answers. We wish to share with you some unresolved questions.”
The statement then lists a series of questions each beginning with the word “why” printed in bold.
The top three questions are: “Why does Dr. Lahey say, on the one hand, that he recognizes John Tully as ‘the elected Chairman of the Parade Committee,’ but at a different meeting say that he does not recognize the duly elected Parade Committee, nor the right of Affiliated Organizations to vote for anyone other than candidates preapproved by the Board?
“Why does Dr. Lahey say that ‘the Board will not recognize the Parade Committee’ since the Board has not met since September of 2015, well before the election of the Grand Marshal? Does Dr. Lahey’s position reflect a formal position of the entire Board, or does it reflect his personal opinion?
“Why has Dr. Lahey appointed a Special Executive Committee led by Hilary Beirne and Frank McGreal to run the 2016 Parade when the duly elected Parade Committee has consistently offered their services?
These and other questions listed in the CMAO document may well get an airing at a meeting set for Tuesday evening, Feb. 9 at the New York Athletic Club.
The meeting, described as a “Parade Delegates Formation Meeting,” is intended to deliver information such as time of stepping off and street starting point to marching units in next month’s parade.
A letter alerting marching units to the 7.30 p.m. meeting stresses that it is critically important that at least one representative from each marching group turn up at the meeting to obtain the necessary information.
The letter is signed by Dr. Lahey as parade chairman and director and Reilly Dundon as “Formation Chairman.”