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Blackie chooses Castlebar parade over New York City

News

Council Cathaoirleach to send deputy to the Big Apple

Anton McNulty

Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Blackie Gavin, will forego leading the Mayo delegation down Fifth Avenue on St Patrick’s Day for the simpler delights of Main Street in his home town.
Traditionally the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council leads the Mayo delegation on their official visit to the US for the St Patrick’s Day festivities – but this year Cllr Gavin has decided to remain at home.
The Castlebar councillor is only the second person from the county town to wear the Cathaoirleach’s chain and he told The Mayo News that attending the parade in Castlebar is more important than going to the US.
“I am only the second Castlebar man to be the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council in over 100 years. As a Castlebar man it will be a huge honour for me and the town to wear the chain during the parade and I did not want to let people down. It is a great honour to be Cathaoirleach and I did not want to miss the opportunity to be able to walk in the St Patrick’s Day parade in the county town,” he said.
Leas-Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Michael Loftus will deputise for Cllr Gavin and will be joined by Fine Gael councillor Henry Kenny and are to fly out this Friday, March 8. They are to attend the Mayo Association dinner in New York on March 9 before travelling the next day to Philadelphia for the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade on March 10.
The delegation will stay for two nights in Philadelphia before returning to New York for a series of meetings and will be joined by Chief Executive Peter Hynes. They are to attend the New York parade on March 16 and fly back home on March 17.
Cllr Gavin said he had full confidence in the Mayo delegation to represent the county and did not feel he was snubbing the Mayo and Irish diaspora by not going.
“I have already been out to the US during my term as Cathaoirleach and I was very happy with how it went.
“I was on a business trip in November, which went very well, and I was also at the Milwaukee Irish Festival, which is the largest in North America, and I met with people from all over the US. I also attended the Cleveland Ball, so I have met with a number of the diaspora and I am pleased with how the trips went,” he said.