herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

NY mayor sorry for 'drunken Irish' gaffe

New york City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologised yesterday for a comment he made about public drunkenness at an Irish-American organisation event.

He said he had been referring to a yearly party the group throws to celebrate the St Patrick's Day Parade.

"I apologise, I certainly did not mean to offend anybody," he said yesterday after his words the previous evening at a book launch event at the American Irish Historical Society's Manhattan headquarters raised some eyebrows.

"Normally when I walk by this building, there are a bunch of people that are totally inebriated hanging out the window waving," Mr Bloomberg had said on Wednesday to laughter and moans from the crowd, according to a transcript.

He continued: "I know, that's a stereotype of the Irish, but nevertheless, we Jews from around the corner think this."

Explaining his comments the following morning, Mr Bloomberg said: "I was talking about a party that they have every year on St Patrick's Day, when it sort of is traditional to hang out the window and yell and scream, and it's in good fun, and I didn't mean anything that anybody should take offence at."

The mayor, who lives nearby, walks underneath the windows of the Upper East Side building every year when he marches in the city's St Patrick's Day Parade.

Criticised

"It's a great organisation. They have a very good time on St Patrick's Day," Mr Bloomberg said yesterday. "I just wish that I didn't have to march in the parade. I'd rather be up there with them."

Still, members of the Irish American community criticised the mayor for Wednesday's remarks.

The parade's chairman, John Dunleavy, told The New York Times that the mayor's remarks were "outrageous and totally uncalled for".

"He wouldn't make a joke about any other ethnic group," Mr Dunleavy said.

City Council speaker Christine Quinn, an Irish-American, said in a statement that "given the mayor's long history of support for the Irish community his remarks were surprising and inappropriate".

She said that "while he should not have said it", she was pleased to hear he had apologised.

hnews@herald.ie

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