Three Rockland County legislators objecting to offensive St. Patrick’s Day merchandise plan to introduce a resolution tonight asking local merchants to restrict their displays and sales. Their action follows a protest by members of the Ancient Order of Hiberians and Senator David Carlucci last Friday.
Legislators Douglas Jobson, Patrick Moroney and Ilan Schoenberger want area businesses to stop selling and displaying St. Patrick’s Day items with derogatory or defamatory messages, which they said misrepresent Irish heritage and tradition.
“We can not mandate the removal of the merchandise,” said Moroney. “We are calling upon these merchants to be considerate and respectful of the feelings and pride of those of Irish heritage.”
The legislature passed a similar resolution last year, when offensive T-shirts, hats and novelty items were displayed. Although some merchants removed the offensive merchandise from display last year, similar items have reappeared recently.
Schoenberger said it is important for the legislature to make its position clear.
“We are informing merchants by resolution of the Legislature that we stand with the Irish-American community to state that it is inappropriate to display or sell items that are offensive in nature and hurtful to the Irish-Americans,” said Schoenberger.
The resolution professes outrage for any act that misrepresents, ridicules or promotes hate and bias toward any religious, ethnic, racial or cultural groups. Jobson noted that Rockland County’s population is one of the most diverse in New York State.
“When one population is offended in a crude or offensive manner, we all must be offended,” said Jobson. “The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the most anticipated events in the county and brings an immense sense of unity and pride to the thousands of Rocklanders that attend. Items that demean and ridicule this anticipated event and the Irish culture are hurtful to the dedicated event organizers and to anyone, anywhere of Irish heritage.”
The legislature meets Tuesday with Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef delivering the 2013 State of the County address at 7 p.m.
The 51st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pearl River kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.