Legislators McGowan, Tyer & Carey Condemn Anti-Irish Merchandise On Eve Of St. Patrick’s Day & Local Celebrations

Rockland County Legislators Christopher Carey (left) and John McGowan (third from left) were joined by members of the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians, Rich Lenihan , an AOH Division 3 aide to Rockland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (second from left), and AOH Division 3 President Charles Parnow, in support of condemning derogatory and disrespectful language targeting the Irish culture and people on T-shirts, hats and other paraphernalia being sold in connection to St. Patrick’s Day.
Photo by Rockland County Legislature

Legislator McGowan: ‘We Will Not Stand For Companies Looking To Profit From Materials That Denounce, Offend, Mischaracterize The Irish People’

New City – Rockland County Legislators have voted to condemn offensive T-shirts, mugs and other paraphernalia that is being sold on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, a Catholic holiday that celebrates the patron saint of Ireland.

“The Irish people have a proud history, heritage, and identity,” Rockland County Legislator John McGowan said. “We are well known and often celebrated for our rich culture and tremendous contributions to the arts, literature, and music. While the Irish are a proud people, we are also a humble people who have endured centuries of oppression, political conflict, famine, and hardship.”

Legislator McGowan is president of the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians and has been active in Irish causes for many years.

“We, the Irish community here in Rockland, will not stand for companies looking to profit from the sale of materials that denounce, offend, and mischaracterize the Irish people and our heritage,” Legislator McGowan said.

Legislator Vince Tyer, the main sponsor of the resolution, noted that Rockland County is home to one of the largest Irish and Irish-American communities in the United States. He is a member and a past president of the Rockland AOH.

“This hateful and derogatory merchandise hits us right where we live,” Legislator Tyer said. “It needs to be removed from Amazon and other online retailers, as well as retail stores.”

The National AOH, the oldest and largest Irish-Catholic organization in the U.S., recently penned an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos regarding the sale of “Anti-St. Patrick’s Day” shirts that read “F*ck St. Patrick’s Day.” The letter is signed by the organization’s National Anti-Defamation Chairman, Neil F. Cosgrove, of Pearl River.

Here is a link to the letter: https://www.irishcentral.com/news/aoh-anti-st-patricks-day-amazon#.XihB3OVnqE4.facebook

A quick check of the internet shows numerous other derogatory merchandise, including T-shirts that say, “This Is No Time To Be Sober” and contains a graphic of a Catholic clergy member; “Get Drunk And Irish On;” “Let’s Get Ready To Stumble – Luck Of The Irish;” “Not Even Slightly Irish, But I’m Going To Get Drunk;” and “Jack & Jim & Johnny & Jameson, the Four Fathers of St. Patrick’s Day.”

“This merchandise not only offends the culture and heritage of the Irish and Irish-Americans, but often our religious faith, as well,” Legislator Tyer said.

Legislator Carey said the Irish community looks forward to celebrating its culture, heritage and traditions on St. Patrick’s Day, which often includes attending Mass, eating Irish foods and spending time with family.

“These items are deeply offensive and oftentimes, extremely vulgar,” Legislator Carey, a member of AOH Division 3, said. “It is ethnic bashing at its worst. It’s unacceptable and it must be stopped.”

Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said the anti-Irish sentiments should concern people of all backgrounds.

“Rockland County stands together as one community in denouncing these terrible expressions of bias and hate,” Legislator Wolfe said. “The language and graphics are not funny nor merely sophomoric. They are hateful, disrespectful and 100 percent wrong. It has no place in our county or anywhere else.”

Legislators voted 16-0 in support of the resolution, which addresses disparaging, offensive, and insulting products being sold by Amazon and other online retailers in advance of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.

Further, the resolution unequivocally condemns all acts of hate and bias directed at religious, ethnic, racial and cultural groups, and proclaims its full support for all religious, ethnic, racial and cultural groups that comprise our county.