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St. Patrick’s Day Would Become A School Holiday If Queens Pol’s Bill Becomes Law

Children paying tribute to their Irish heritage in Sunnyside

Children paying tribute to their Irish heritage in Sunnyside

Feb. 18, 2016 By Christian Murray

New York City school children who live in Irish communities would be granted a day off school to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day if a Queens State Senator’s bill becomes law.

State Sen. Tony Avella, who represents Northeast Queens, introduced a bill Tuesday that would establish Saint Patrick’s Day as a school holiday in districts with a significant Irish population.

Avella, in a statement, said he was prompted to take action after learning that the New York City parent-teacher conferences would be held on the Irish Saint’s holiday, as it was in 2011 when the 250th annual parade took place. Many teachers were infuriated that they would have to work late during their cultural holiday.

Avella argues that Saint Patrick’s Day should be established as a school holiday, just as many other cultural and religious holidays are, and noted that the Irish community is long overdue for this recognition.

Using the language of the Lunar New Year school holiday bill that unanimously passed the State Senate, Avella introduced his bill that would establish Saint Patrick’s Day as a school holiday in City School Districts of one million or more, with an Irish population of 7.5% or greater.

The bill, which was introduced just two days ago, has yet to get any co-sponsors in the senate and a similar bill has not been introduced into the Assembly.

New York State, according to Avella, has the largest concentrated Irish population in the United States, 12.9%, and New York City itself was the first to host a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1762, which continues to be one of the most widely attended traditions in the city.

“It is really quite astounding that Saint Patrick’s Day is yet to be recognized as a school holiday in New York, where so many Irish immigrants originally settled and where so many of their descendants still live,” Avella said. “Let us extend the same courtesy to the Irish as we have to so many other cultural and religious groups and let students and teachers alike observe this holiday with their friends and family. It isn’t just time we do this, it is time past due.”

Avella’s bill has the support of some Irish leaders.

“All immigrants in the City and State of New York are entitled to honor their heritage. Recognizing March 17th and the significance to millions of New Yorkers in celebrating the Feast Day of Patrick the Patron Saint…will ensure that generations of students will acknowledge the cultural, spiritual, civic and educational contributions of the Irish to New York,” said Siobhan Dennehy, the executive director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.

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Click for Comments 
Harry Ballsagna

Is this actually a real holiday? I thought it was just an excuse for 20 year olds to get roaring drunk.

Dick Fitzwell

Come on. Do people really “celebrate” St. Patrick’s Day? It isn’t even close to a major holiday. Only in America where we get hammered.

Anonymous visitor

If that happens, then it would be nice to take into consideration every single holiday that deserves to be celebrated such as Greek Independence Day. Where do you draw the line and how do you get to choose which one you want schools to close for? If you want to be fair, then do it for every major holiday.


All holidays should be moved to the weekend or summer. Wiccans get no holidays off and Christisns get the most . It’s ridiculous


Christmas Day ( non-orthodox ) and Easter Sunday are the only nationally recognized religious holidays . That makes 2 to everyone else’s 0.

Anonymous visitor

“Everyone” else is NOT zero.
Muslims gets Eid al-Adha off which is a religious holiday.


Correct, but I’m talking about national holidays.
If it’s for a religion, you either have all of them or none of them.

Anonymous visitor

Maybe you should go to congress and express your resentment for Christians having observed holidays.
Just let them know it should be moved to weekends, so they can laugh at you and call you a tool. Get a life


I don’t resent Christians . I resent not treating all religions equally. I resent churches and other religious organizations not paying taxes.


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