Belfast looks to the future to celebrate St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM   |   Comments

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, March 17 (UPI) -- Thousands of Irish and Irish-for-a-day celebrated St. Patrick's Day Monday with pomp, circumstance and parades in Ireland and elsewhere.

Revelers lined the streets of Belfast for the annual St. Patrick's Day parades honoring Ireland's patron saint with dozens of floats, including a nod to the DeLorean time machine in the movie, "Back to The Future," and a "Doctor Who" Tardis, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir called the festivities "a fun, fantastic treat for all the family."

"We took the future as a theme because it is important that we concentrate on that and how life can be better for all of us," he said. "We have shown the world that we can put on a show and celebrate with the best of them."

Ireland's Guinness brewery said it wasn't sponsoring this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York because the event bars gays and lesbians from marching, the New York Daily News reported.

"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade," a spokesman for the brewery's parent company, Diageo, said in a statement.

Guinness pulled its sponsorship of the 253rd annual parade Sunday.

Heineken also said it would not sponsor the event, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wouldn't march in it because of the parade's policy on gays.

Gay and lesbian advocacy group GLAAD said in a statement it was pleased that Guinness stopped sponsoring the St. Patrick's Day Parade because of the event's policy on gays.

"Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees: Discrimination should never be celebrated," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and chief executive officer.

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