Brian O’Dwyer before a portrait of his father, Paul
By Ray O’Hanlon
Attorney and immigration activist Brian O’Dwyer will lead the 2019 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade as its Grand Marshal.
O’Dwyer’s elevation to the most prominent honor in Irish America followed a meeting of the parade board in Manhattan Thursday night.
O’Dwyer, whose father and uncle were both grand marshals, will lead the parade on Saturday, March 16 as St. Patrick’s Day 2019 falls on a Sunday.
As per tradition, the parade never marches on a Sunday.
O’Dwyer, until recently the chairman of the Emerald Isle immigration Center, and for many years the senior partner in the Manhattan law firm of O’Dwyer and Bernstien, is not part of the parade’s governing structure but over the years he has been intermittently involved in its affairs, most recently as a mediator focused on divisions between the parade board and the parade committee.
O’Dwyer’s good offices being generally recognized, his elevation is expected to be broadly welcomed.
The O’Dwyer name, rooted in County Mayo, has been prominent in the life of New York City going back generations.
Brian O’Dwyer’s uncle, William O’Dwyer, then a future mayor of New York City (the 100th holder of the office) was grand marshal of the parade in 1938.
His father, City Council President and United States Senate candidate, Paul O’Dwyer, led the parade in 1974.
Brian O’Dwyer will lead what will be the 258th celebration of St. Patrick on the streets of his native city.
O’Dwyer, though the inheritor of a proud family legacy, has down the years carved his own distinct path as a lawyer, and as an Irish American political activist.
That path has now led to an avenue - and a date with history.