Panti Bliss praised for speaking up for migrants as London St Patrick’s Day Grand Marshal

Panti's comments refer to the news that government officials removed roughly 200 people who were living in tents outside of Dublin's International Protection Office.

Photo of Panti Bliss standing with a crowd in the London St Patricks Day parade
Image: Simon Lamrock

Ireland’s national treasure, Panti Bliss, used her platform as the Grand Marshal for London’s St Patrick’s Parade on Sunday, March 17, to speak ‘truths about Ireland’.

The legendary drag queen and LGBTQ+ rights activist led the annual parade down the streets of the city lined by over 50,000 people from Hyde Park to Piccadilly and Pall Mall.

The parade, organised by the mayor of London and the London Irish Centre, included Irish dancers, musicians, and performers and concluded with live performances where crowds congregated at Trafalgar Square.

Panti Bliss spoke to the crowd from the stage, emphasising how London has not always been a welcoming place for Irish emigrants, and used this to remind Irish people to be kind and respectful toward people who are now immigrating to Ireland.

Panti took to social media to share, “I came to London yesterday because in a few hours I’m the Grand Marshall of the London St Patrick’s Day Parade. And I’m honoured and looking forward to it. But after what was done to asylum seekers in Dublin yesterday, it now feels weird because I’m also ashamed to be Irish today.”



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A post shared by Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@pantibliss)

Her comments refer to the news that government officials removed roughly 200 people who were staying in tents on Mount Street outside of Dublin’s International Protection Office.

The men were living there due to a lack of accommodation for male asylum seekers. On Saturday, they were instructed to board a bus. They were transported to a remote area in south-west Dublin, and their tents and belongings were destroyed by cleaning crews reportedly hired by International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS).


The move took place the day before tourists were expected to visit Dublin for the St Patrick’s Day festival, and the Government has been widely criticised for concealing the problem rather than solving it.

Social Rights Ireland (SRI) criticised the move, calling the “St Patrick’s Day clean-up operation” a “cynical and profoundly irresponsible ploy” that makes the men more vulnerable to far-right attacks. The SRI is organising a protest on Tuesday, March 19, outside the International Protection Office.


Panti Bliss previously told GCN she was honoured and delighted to be this year’s Grand Marshal, adding, “Though having spent some of my student summers as a freshly minted gay there, it won’t be the first time I’ve made a holy show of myself in the queer streets of London.”

In addition to stealing the show with her dazzling personality, an impressive wig and gorgeous green attire, Panti’s comments have earned praise and support from other activists across Ireland. One commenter on X said, “You are a voice for a much better and nobler Ireland.”

Another recognised her as the “voice of reason and compassion”, and a third commended her “strength for platforming the marginalised”.

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