Brendan Fay, Irish founder of New York's St. Pat’s For All parade, steps down

The Louth Native founded the inclusive parade which has been an annual celebration in New York since 2000.

Brendan Fay taking part in the St. Pat's for All parade.
Image: Twitter: @bfmirish

Founder of the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens, Brendan Fay, has stepped down from his position as chairman. The activist had been involved with the event for over two decades, and made the decision in order to “focus on other things”.

The Drogheda native came up with the idea of an all-inclusive march in 1999 after Irish LGBTQ+ groups were banned from participating in the annual Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade. Since it first took place in 2000, St. Pat’s for All has continued its celebrations on the first Sunday of every March, attracting countless parade-goers from far and wide, including none other than former First Lady and Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, who made a historic appearance.

In 2016, Lavender and Green Alliance, also founded by Brendan Fay, was finally allowed to participate in the Fifth Avenue parade, becoming the first Irish LGBTQ+ organisation to do so. Other marches in New York now also welcome Irish LGBTQ+ banners, excluding the main parade in Staten Island.

Speaking on his departure from the organisation, Fay said: “It was a tough decision for me but it felt like the right moment. We’ve seen the change. When I had the idea for St. Pat’s for All back in 1999 it was in response to an issue in our community. I will always be proud of how change came about.

“It is a huge decision for me, but I’m taking it with a sense of gratitude for the people I’ve met over the years,” he continued. “St. Pat’s for All came out of the Irish LGBT community being excluded and protesting, and the way out of that was being open and inclusive. That’s the language we always used.”

This year’s St. Pat’s for All parade will take place on Sunday, March 6, while Brendan Fay’s Lavender and Green Alliance will participate in the Fifth Avenue march on March 17. He hopes to refocus his energy towards the alliance, aiming to attract younger members of the Irish community. It is also expected that he will continue his work in documentary filmmaking.

“It’s important to let people run with St. Pat’s for All now and take it to a new place. And I’ll always be hugely proud of what it’s already achieved,” he commented.

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