ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE NAMES LEGENDARY PEACEMAKER GEORGE MITCHELL 2016 GRAND MARSHAL
NEW YORK, NY, January 11, 2016 – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Board of Directors has named former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who negotiated the legendary Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland, as Grand Marshal of this year’s parade, Board Chairman John Lahey announced today.
Sen. Mitchell, the son of a janitor from Waterville, ME, has a distinguished public service career. After serving as U.S. Attorney for Maine, Mitchell became a federal judge and later was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1980. He was elected to his first full Senate term in 1982 and became Senate Majority Leader in 1989.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton named Mitchell U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. After leading a commission to establish the terms of non-violence to which all groups in Northern Ireland had to adhere, Mitchell played a significant role in leading the all-party peace negotiations, which led to the Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998.
In addition to his monumental work in Northern Ireland, Mitchell led a commission with the intent of solving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. His report investigating the possible causes of the Second Intifada was published in 2001, and led to him being appointed Special Envoy for Middle East Peace in 2009.
Mitchell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Liberty Medal for his work in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations. He also was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1998.
“I’m honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade,”
“It is indeed fitting that the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising which gave birth to Irish independence, has as its Grand Marshal Sen. George Mitchell, who played such an important role in our quest for freedom,” said John Lahey.
“In his many accomplishments in a lifetime of public service, perhaps Sen. Mitchell’s greatest achievement is the gift he gave the people of Ireland – peace.”
About St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York.
The Parade starts at 11 am every March 17th and begins at 44th Street and proceeds up Fifth Avenue to 79th street in Manhattan.
The New York City St Patrick’s Parade marched for the first time in 1762, fourteen Years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The Parade is regarded as the most popular of the all the Parades in New York City. The New York Parade consists only of marchers and each year hosts some 250,000 marchers and two million spectators. The Parade has many outstanding marching bands, bagpipers in marching formations, high-school and college bands from throughout the United States and from all over the world.
The occasion is televised live to millions of households nationwide for four hours by host station WNBC Channel Four. The broadcast is webcast live via the internet through the Parade’s web site at NYCStPatricksParade.Org and WNBC Channel Four web site at www.wnbc.com.
For additional information regarding the 2016 Grand Marshal and Parade events leading up to the Parade, contact Pat Smith / 212-843-8026 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Hilary Beirne at the Parade Office 718-231-4400/ HBeirne@NYCStPatricksParade.Org or visit the Parade web site at NYCStPatricksParade.Org.
2016 Grand Marshal
Senator George J. Mitchell
Senator George J. Mitchell was born in Waterville, Maine. His father, George John Mitchell, Sr. (born Joseph Kilroy), was of Irish descent and was raised by the Mitchell family (who were of Lebanese descent) after he was orphaned. Mitchell's mother, Mary, emigrated to the United States from Lebanon.
George Mitchell graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he graduated in 1954. He served in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956, rising to First Lieutenant. In 1961, he received his law degree from Georgetown University and has since received honorary degrees from more than 50 colleges and universities around the world.
George Mitchell served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. from 1960 to 1962 and as executive assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie from 1962 to 1965. He returned to Maine to practice law in 1965. He was appointed assistant county attorney for Cumberland County in 1971. In 1977, he was appointed U.S. Attorney for Maine by President
Jimmy Carter; he served in that capacity until 1979 when he was appointed as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. Mitchell was appointed to the Senate by
the then governor of Maine to complete the unexpired term of Senator Muskie. He served in the Senate for 15 years, the last 6 as the Senate Majority Leader.
Senator Mitchell rose quickly in the Senate and was elected the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1984 and served as Deputy President pro tempore in the 100th United States Congress; he is one of only two Senators to have held that position. Senator Mitchell helped pass legislation to reauthorize the Clean Air Act and pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under his leadership in the Senate, the United States Senate approved the North American Free Trade Agreement and the formation of the World Trade Organization.
In 1995 Senator Mitchell was appointed United States Special Representative for Northern Ireland by President Clinton and he played a pivotal role in the negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland. He led a commission that established the principles of non-violence to which all parties in Northern Ireland had to adhere and he subsequently chaired the all-party negotiations which led to the Peace Agreement signed on Good Friday 1998 (known since as the "Good Friday Agreement"). Mitchell's personal intervention was crucial to the success of the Northern Ireland peace agreement. For his involvement in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, Mitchell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Liberty Medal . In 1999 Mitchell was invested as an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for his services to the Northern Ireland peace process.
From 2002 to 2009, Senator Mitchell was a Senior Fellow and Research Scholar at Columbia University's Center for International Conflict Resolution. He served as the Founding Chairman of the International Crisis Group where he worked to help end or avert conflicts between nations. He was the Chancellor of Queen's University in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, from 1999 to 2009. The Senator is the author of five books, the latest in 2015 entitled The Negotiator: A Memoir. Senator Mitchell is the founder of the Mitchell Institute in Portland, Maine; since its founding the Institute has provided over $11 million in financial assistance to help about 2,500 needy students to attend college.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Senator Mitchell as the United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace a position he held until 2011.
Senator George Mitchell is the primary architect of the 1996 “Mitchell Principles” on conflict resolution and he was the main investigator in two "Mitchell Reports", one on the Arab–Israeli conflict in 2001 and one on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League baseball in 2007.
George J. Mitchell currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the international law firm of DLA Piper; he previously served as the firm’s Chairman for seven years. Mitchell also served as chairman of The Walt Disney Company from March 2004 until January 2007. Over the years, Senator Mitchell served on a number of Boards of Directors of various well known U.S. companies, including Xerox, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, FedEx, and Staples.
Senator Mitchell is married to Heather MacLachlan and has three children Andrea, Andrew and Claire.
2016 AIDES TO THE GRAND MARSHAL
New York County; Tom Mullany
Bronx County; Timothy O’Donoghue
Queens County; Bridget O’Brien
Kings County; Virginia “Gina” Sheehan
Richmond County; Jack King
Nassau County: Regina McGannon Begley
Suffolk County; James Walsh
Westchester County; Alice Droogan
Rockland County; Kevin G. Donohue
Orange County; Kevin Dooner
UIC; Martin Dunne
Grand Council; Keith Lavallee
Knights of St Pat; Eddie Dowling
Aide at Large; Geraldine Johnson