The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Board of Directors has named former U.S. Senator 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,” Mitchell said.
“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.”
The 255th St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 44th Street and proceeds up Fifth Avenue to 79th street in Manhattan on March 17, starting at 11 a.m.
The Parade will be broadcast live on WNBC-TV 4, Thursday, March 17, and live-streamed on NBCNewYork.com.