Paraders Get Their Irish Up Over McDonald

If State Sen. Andrew McDonald marches in Stamford’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, he’ll do so without the luck of the Irish on his side.

In response to controversial legislation proposed by McDonald that would alter how Catholic churches oversee their finances, the city’s division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians has threatened to drop out of the parade, according to this report in the Greenwich Time.

The Hibernians requested that the Stamford St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee withdraw its invitation to McDonald, but was denied. Jim Bartley, chairman of the committee, told the Time that although it was founded by the Hibernians, “the St. Patrick’s Day Committee is a separate entity from the ancient order,” and the state senator “is welcome to march.”

Mike O’Connor, head of the Stamford Hibernians, said that if the decision remains unchanged, his members will “respectfully stand off to the side of the road and let the parade go through.”

“We’re not holding signs or anything like that,” O’Connor said. “We just have principles we believe we have to stand up for.”

McDonald and State Rep. Michael Lawlor sparked outrage last weekend when they proposed a bill that would have given laypeople a larger say in how church parishes spend money after a slew of high-profile church embezzlement cases in Fairfield County and elsewhere.

McDonald on Wednesday issued an apology for his handling of the bill, but O’Connor said it was not enough.


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