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O'Kane and Byrne to lead parade on St Patrick's Day full of laughs


Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne will be Grand Marshals. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne will be Grand Marshals. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire


Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne will be Grand Marshals. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

St Patrick's Day is set to be a barrel of laughs in the city, as comedians Deirdre O'Kane and Jason Byrne have been lined up as Grand Marshals for Dublin's annual parade.

The festival runs from March 14 to 18 this year and celebrates the Irish tradition of storytelling - Scealaiocht agus Seanchai - which is something organisers feel comedy goes hand in hand with.

They have now asked the funny pair to lead the parade, which kicks off at noon on March 17.

Ireland's Got Talent judge Jason and former Dancing With The Stars finalist Deirdre are also involved in the Paddy's Night in Support of Comic Relief event in the 3Arena, spearheaded by Deirdre, who said the role of Grand Marshal teed them up nicely for the evening gig.

Recently, Comic Relief ambassador Stacey Dooley faced a backlash when she posed with children in Africa while she was filming for the charity, with suggestions she was promoting the image of a "white saviour".


Deirdre said it was "beyond her" why someone would criticise a person trying to help others.

"The refugee crisis is off the scale and there are people in desperate need," she said.

"If somebody has a profile or a public voice of some kind they will get the media attention a lay person will have to work much harder to get, so it makes sense.

"They have always gone hand in hand together, it's always been needed - there is a lot of people who have a voice who don't bother, who don't use it so why anybody would criticise Stacey Dooley or anybody else is beyond me. It is much easier to say no and not do it."

Deirdre is also planning a separate trip to Gaza for five days with Trocaire in the coming months. She said she had been spurred on by watching acclaimed documentary Gaza.

"It made me want to go even more. I realised this is a dire situation and I feel so desperately sorry for the people living there, they are trapped," she said.

"I do feel there is a sense of why are the world not helping us - and I think that is for all refugees, how can you go on with your lives and ignore this?"

Meanwhile, the comedian (50) admitted she almost joined another Irish comic on a very popular project.

She told the Herald she was close to joining the line-up of smash-hit comedy Derry Girls, in which Tommy Tiernan stars as Erin's bewildered dad Gerry.

The Louth woman, whose mother originally hailed from Derry, said she had been approached by the show before season one hit screens, but said "it didn't work out".

However, Deirdre was still a big fan of the show, saying: "It's nice to see something that is essentially parochial - they are not trying to make it accessible for America."