Remove and Replace Peter King as Grand Marshal of the Lindenhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Remove and Replace Peter King as Grand Marshal of the Lindenhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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Long Islanders Against Peter King started this petition to Lindenhurst Village Board and

We, the undersigned, strongly applaud the creation of the inaugural Lindenhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade to celebrate Irish culture and heritage, as well as the Irish-American community on Long Island.  The Parade is also sure to raise significant funds for charity, and attract thousands of people to visit and patronize the many small businesses in newly-revitalized downtown Lindenhurst. 

However, we wholeheartedly oppose the selection of Peter King to be the Parade’s first Grand Marshal due to his morally reprehensible support of the Irish Republican Army (“IRA”) - - a terrorist organization that from 1971 to 2005, was responsible for the murders of almost two thousand people, including police officers and innocent men, women, and children.

During the 1980s and 1990s, King raised money for the Irish Northern Aid Committee (more commonly known as NORAID) - - a front for the IRA that not only smuggled millions of dollars and weapons from the United States to Northern Ireland, but also helped convicted IRA terrorists that had escaped prison and fled to the United States. 

King frequently defended and justified IRA terrorism in an attempt to persuade Americans to support its cause, stating that the IRA was a “legitimate force” and that “if civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it.” 

King visited IRA social clubs and stayed at the homes of IRA terrorist leadership, such as Belfast Operations Officer Anto Murray and Quartermaster General Mickey McKevitt.  This was all while Murray was in charge of ordering and organizing IRA terrorist attacks in Belfast, while McKevitt had established a weapons smuggling network with Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya - - an enemy of the United States.   

In 1984, the Secret Service deemed King a security threat and banned him from attending an event with President Reagan when he visited Long Island.  Then in 1985, King continued to support the IRA even when they murdered nine police officers in a mortar attack.  That same year, the Irish government - - which opposed the IRA - - boycotted the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade for the sole reason that King was controversially elected Grand Marshal despite receiving less than half of the total vote.

More recently, in 2002, King condemned Congressional hearings investigating links between the IRA and a Colombian terrorist organization and drug cartel known as FARC as “irresponsible,” despite evidence showing that the IRA offered bomb-making and explosives training to FARC.  Then in 2008, King unsuccessfully opposed the extradition of convicted IRA terrorist Pol Brennan, who was here in our country illegally. 

We have no issue with peaceful support for a united Ireland.  Indeed, King could have joined a number of prominent Irish-American politicians such as Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, and Governor Hugh Carey in their advocacy for the peaceful Social Democratic and Labour Party, which supported a united Ireland and had the majority of Catholic support in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. 

Unfortunately, King chose not to do so, instead deriding these voices for peaceful Irish unification as “morally arrogant and self-righteous,” while supporting terrorists in order to achieve his own political goals. 

Furthermore, if King had supported a unionist terrorist organization such as the Ulster Volunteer Force, we would be just as critical of his selection as Grand Marshal as we are now.  This is not about Catholic versus Protestant, or Irish versus British.  Terrorism is unacceptable, no matter the cause or who the perpetrators are.

Peter King is not someone that the Village of Lindenhurst and the Parade Committee should be honoring.  King’s support for terrorism does not reflect our values.  It is an unnecessary distraction from the celebration, unfairly portrays Irish-Americans in a negative light, and does not accurately represent what the rich, full and vibrant Irish-American experience in our country is all about. 

It is for these reasons why we strongly urge the Village of Lindenhurst and the Parade Committee to remove King as Grand Marshal and replace him with one of the many noteworthy Irish-Americans that live locally.  Former Assemblyman and Lindenhurst resident Robert Sweeney, former County Executive and Town of Babylon resident Pat Halpin, County Executive Steve Bellone, former Village Administrator Shawn Cullinane, Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, Town Councilman Terrence McSweeney, Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, and State Senator Phil Boyle are just some of the many worthy choices that do not share Peter King’s shameful legacy of supporting terrorism. 

Thank you, and we appreciate your consideration in this matter.

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